The Anonymous Widower

Meridian Water Station – 27th September 2017

I took these pictures from the top deck of a 341 bus, as it passed the site of Meridian Water station.

It doesn’t look like it will be a small station.

September 28, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Will Elland Road Stadium Ever Get a Railway Station?

The traffic getting to Elland Road for the match between Leeds United and Ipswich Town was horrendous. But then the crowd was over 34,000!

You can see Elland Road stadium as you come into Leeds on the trains from London, and this Google Map shows the relation between the rail line and the stadium.

My friend actually parked her car alongside the rail line and we walked to the ground along Elland Road.

I took these pictures from where we parked.

Development is happening between the railway and the stadium including a new ice rink.

So will a new station be built on this line, if Leeds United won promotion to the Premier League?

This article in Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Plans For Three New Leeds Railway Stations Unveiled. It says that a new station at theWhite Rose Shopping Centre could be built.

This Google Map shows Elland Road Stadium and the White Rose Shopping Centre and the two rail lines in the area.

Note.

  1. The line through Cottingley station is the Huddersfield Line.
  2. Cottingley station is currently the nearest station to Elland Road Stadium.
  3. The Huddersfield Line passes alongside the White Rose Shopping Centre.
  4. The Huddersfield Line is not electrified.

After the traffic, I saw at the match, something needs to be done.

TransPennine Improvements

The Huddersfield Line will be improved to form part of a strategy for 125 mph trains across the Pennines.

The map from Wikipedia shows the lines between Leeds and Batley stations, that go through Cottingley.

Note.

  1. The White Rose Centre is probably near the closed Churwell station.
  2. The four kilometre long Morley Tunnel, which if it is in good condition could be reasonably easy to electrify.
  3. After Batley the route diverges and serves nemerous towns in the area like Bradford, Brighouse, Halifax and Huddersfield.

There is surely scope for a comprehensive and frquent service to the West of Leeds.

A Digitally-Signalled Trans-Pennine Route

The complexity of the routes around Leeds must be a nightmare to operate.

In this article on Rail Technology Magazine, which is entitled Grayling Commits £5m To Install Digital Signalling On TransPennine Route, the Transport Minister advocates the use of digital signalling to increase capacity and stability on the line.

Having waited at Leeds station to get a train to Guiseley, operation of the suburban routes in Leeds seems to be incredibly complicated and I suspect difficult for both passengers and the operators.

The Ordsall Chord will give Manchester a cross-city route, so could digital signalling open up an East-West route across Leeds and thread it through all the long distance services serving Leeds?

New stations at Apperley Bridge, Kirkstall Forge, Leeds-Bradford Airport, Thorpe Park and White Rose Shopping Centre would all fit this pattern and I believe digital signalling could be the key to making it work, with four trains per hour to each terminus.

More Suburban Electrification In Leeds

In some ways the most important stretch of electrification needed in Leeds would be the route from Neville Hill depot to York, as this would add the following.

  • Ease movements of trains between York and the depot.
  • Improve the performance of services between Liverpool and Newcastle via Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York.
  • Allow electric services from Thorpe Park to destinations on the other side of the city.

There must be an exceedingly good reason, why this route has not been electrified.

Conclusion

Leeds could expand the Metro dramatically by doing the following.

  • Running services through two through platforms in Leeds station.
  • Building several new stations.
  • Electrifying between Neville Hill depot and York.
  • Using digital signalling.
  • Obtaining some bi-mode trains. Even Class 769 trains would do the job.

The network of lines around Leeds could give Leeds a Metro of a very high standard, at a very affordable cost.

September 23, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Merseyrail To Skelmersdale – Skelmersdale Station

In Merseyrail To Skelmersdale – How To Plan A New Rail-Link, I talked about a new Skelmersdale station.

From Kirkby, I took a taxi to look at the sites of Headbolt Lane and Skelmersdale stations.

These pictures were taken in and around the Concourse Shopping Centre at Skelmersdale.

The Shopping Centre has everything needed for a railway station, if one should be built nearby.

This Google Map shows the Concourse Shopping Centre.

As the rail line from the junction to the East of Rainford station comes in from the South, I’m sure that Merseyrail have a good place to put the station, so that passengers can walk into the Concourse Shopping Centre.

Passengers might even be able to use the existing bridge.

 

 

September 21, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Merseyrail To Skelmersdale – Headbolt Lane Station

In Merseyrail To Skelmersdale – How To Plan A New Rail-Link, I talked about Headbolt Lane station.

From Kirkby, I took a taxi to look at the sites of Headbolt Lane and Skelmersdale stations.

These pictures were taken at the site of the proposed Headbolt Lane station.

Plans for the station talk about a single platform.

This Google Map shows the railway line, which runs alongside Headbolt Lane.

Note the footbridge in the bottom left corner of the map.

Merseyrail would seem to have a lot of space to put the station.

September 21, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

An Addenbrooke’s Train Station Has Got The Thumbs-Up From The Transport Secretary

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in the Cambridge News.

These are my thoughts.

Location

Cambridge South station, if they follow the convention of the name of the newly-opened Cambridge North station, has the ideal location.

  • It is South of the City of Cambridge in a similar position to how Cambridge North station is North of the City.
  • The Cambridgeshire Guided Busway could be diverted to serve the station.
  • Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Cambridge Biomedical Campus could be a short walk or a travelator ride away.
  • Addenbrooke’s bus station could be moved to be adjacent to the new train station.
  • Services between both Liverpool Street and Kings Cross stations and Cambridge would call.
  • There is space for a large car park for both train passengers and hospital patients and visitors.
  • In the future, trains on the East West Rail Link will be able to call.

The location would also allow trains or guided buses on a reopened Stour Valley Railway to call.

Trains

When Thameslink opens fully, it looks like the trains going through Cambridge South station could include.

  • 1 tph – CrossCountry – Birmingham New Street to Stansted Airport.
  • 1 tph – Greater Anglia – Norwich to Stansted Airport.
  • 2 tph – Greater Anglia – Liverpool Street to Cambridge/Cambridge North/Ely
  • 3 tph – Great Northern – Kings Cross to Cambridge/Cambridge North
  • 1 tph – Great Northern – Kings Cross to Kings Lynn
  • 2 tph – Thameslink – Brighton to Cambridge/Caambridge North
  • 2 tph – Thameslink – Maidstone East to Cambridge/Caambridge North

Note tph is trains per hour.

This totals to twelve tph. And that’s only for starters.

  • The East West Rail Link will surely add 2 tph to Oxford.
  • All these services to Kings Cross and St. Pancras must surely hit Greater Anglia’s Liverpool Street services. Will this mean they use some of their massive fleet of new trains to provide extra services to Liverpool Street and Stansted.

It should also be noted that Greater Anglia serves the City, Stratford and connects to Crossrail, whereas Great Northern doesn’t!

The Stour Valley Railway

If Cambridge continues to be one of the most successful cities in the world, I can’t believe that the Stour Valley Railway won’t be reinstated as another route across East Anglia.

I discuss this proposal in detail in An Affordable Reinstatement Of The Stour Valley Railway.

I came to this conclusion.

Reinstatement of the Stour Valley Railway  would be the ultimate modern railway for one of the world’s most high-tech cities.

I think it will be built at some time.

Cost

The usual suspects will complain about Cambridge South station being another station in a city near London, that already has two stations.

This is said about the cost of Cambridge North station in Wikipedia.

On 19 August 2015, Cambridge City Council approved Network Rail’s new plans for the station, which were not substantially different from the original plans put forward by Cambridgeshire County Council in 2013. Following Network Rail’s intervention, the cost of the station was revised upwards to £44 million.

When first proposed by Cambridgeshire County Council in around 2007, at the cost was £15 million, with a benefit-cost ratio of 3.09.

So much for Network Rail’s costing systems.

Incidentally, Kirkstall |Forge station in Leeds, which is a two-platform station on an electrified line with full step-free access cost £16 million. So as Cambridge South will probably have an extra platform and lots of parking, I would reckon £25 million would cover the cost of building the station.

To put this sum in context, two Cambridge companies have recently been sold.

These two deals must have generated a lot of tax revenue.

Conclusion

A start on Cambridge South station should be made next week.

 

August 12, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Rise Of One-Platform Stations

As I was writing DfT Names Five Winners Of Fresh £16m Stations Fund,  I came to the conclusion that a lot of well-designed one-platform stations have been built since the turn of the millennium.

New one-platform stations include.

  • Alloa – Scotland – Reopened 2008 – Commuter and terminal station
  • Alesbury Vale Parkway – Bucks – Opened 2008 – Park-and-Ride, commuter and terminal station.
  • Beauly – Scotland – Reopened 2002 – £250,000 – 75% of local commuters switched from road to rail.
  • Brunstane – Scotland – Opened 2002 – Commuter station
  • Chandler’s Ford – Hampshire – Reopened 2003 – Commuter station
  • Chatelherault – Scotland – Reopened 2005 – Commuter station.
  • Conon Bridge – Scotland – Reopened 2013 – £600,000 – Local station
  • Cranbrook – Devon – Opened 2015 – Commuter station
  • Ebbw Vale Parkway – Wales – Opened 2008 – Park-and-Ride and commuter station.
  • Ebbw Vale Town – Opened 2015 – Commuter and terminal station.
  • Eskbank – Scotland – Opened 2015 – Commuter station
  • Fishguard and Goodwick – Wales – Reopened 2012 – £325,000 – Local station and bus interchange.
  • Galashiels – Scotland – Reopened 2015 – Commuter station and bus interchange.
  • Gorebridge – Scotland – Opened 2015 – Commuter station
  • James Cook – Teeside – Opened 2014 – £2.2million – Serves the hospital
  • Kelvindale – Scotland – Reopened 2005 – Commuter station
  • Llanhilleth – Wales – Reopened 2008 – Commuter station
  • Merryton – Scotland – Opened 2005 – Commuter station
  • Newbridge – Wales – Reopened 2008 – Commuter station
  • Newcourt – Devon – Opened 2015 – £4million – Commuter station.
  • Newcraighall – Scotland – Opened 2002 – Park-and-Ride
  • Newtongrange – Scotland – Opened 2015 – Commuter station
  • Pye Corner – Wales – £3.5million – Commuter station
  • Rogerstone – Wales – Opened 2008 – Commuter station

That is a total of twenty-four stations including three termini since 2000.

Several of the stations are on three reopened or new lines.

The three routes have sections of single-track.

How many more one-platform stations will we see in the next few years?

  • They must be more affordable.
  • They don’t need expensive pedestrian bridges.
  • They are usually step-free.
  • They can be as long as you need
  • They are ideal for single-track lines without electrification.

On the other hand there may be signalling and safety issues.

Integrated Design Of Rail Routes, Stations And Trains

If you look at the design of a new or reopened railway line like the Borders Railway, there have been various complaints from residents, commuters, railway purists and tourists.

  • Why wasn’t it built as double-track throughout?
  • There is no siding to help if a train brakes down.
  • Parking is insufficient.
  • The capacity of the trains is small.
  • The trains are old and tired.
  • The trains perform poorly.

A lot of the complaints can be blamed on the need to deliver the railway on a minimum cost.

But, I also believe that if the line had been designed to fit around a small fleet of trains, designed specifically for the route, then more money could have been saved and the railway would offer a better service to everyone.

Imagine a train with these characteristics.

  • At least four comfortable carriages.
  • Ability to run on electricity, where 25 KVAC overhead electrification is available.
  • Ability to run on diesel or batteries, where there is no electrification.
  • Change of power mode would be automatic and at line speed.
  • Level access to Harrington Humps at all stations for those needing step-free access.
  • Integrated CCTV between train and stations, so train crew can check if there are any possible problems or passengers who need assistance as they approach a station.
  • Wi-fi and 4G, although the latter might be difficult on the Borders Railway.
  • An onboard ticket machine, so late passengers can board without a ticket and the conductor is busy.

The train doesn’t need to be new, but designed for the route and of refurbished to a high standard.

I believe that train designers can come up with a train that would be more efficient to operate at stations, so that time-keeping would be spot on.

A Rail Link To Saint Andrews

I will use this rail link as an example, because of the importance of the historic City and its links to golf.

The length of the route by road between Leuchars station and Saint Andrews is 5.8 miles.

This is not much longer than the 4.4 miles of the Greenford Branch Line in West London, which has a frequency of two trains per hour (tph).

The service is provided by a single Class 165 train. So I suspect, a single train could maintain a two tph shuttle between Leuchars station and Saint Andrews.

The minimum infrastructure to sustain this two tph service would be as follows.

  • A single bay platform at Leuchars station.
  • A single platform terminus at Saint Andrews.
  • Perhaps a single platform station for golfing visitors convenient for the courses.
  • All platforms would be able to handle six car trains.
  • A single track would connect all the stations.

But surely this is not good enough for Saint Andrews.

  • A passing loop could be provided at halfway.
  • There must also be the possibility of a triangular junction to link the rail link to the main line.

Doing both, might allow four tph and direct trains from Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow to Saint Andrews.

 

 

 

July 29, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , | 1 Comment

DfT Names Five Winners Of Fresh £16m Stations Fund

The title of this post is the same as an article in Rail Technology Magazine.

It announces the five winners of funding from the Second New Stations Fund.

Stations chosen are as follows.

  • Horden Peterlee in County Durham
  • Warrington West in Cheshire
  • Reading Green Park
  • Bow Street in Ceredigion, Wales
  • Portway Parkway near Bristol

Note the fund is for England and Wales only!

The stations will be described in the next few sections.

Horden Peterlee

Horden Peterlee station will be on the double-track Durham Coast Line, between Seaham and Hsrtlepool stations.

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

Wikipedia says this about the proposed station.

This station, if built, would have 2 platforms with waiting shelters, benches, lighting, help points and CCTV. The platforms would be linked by a covered footbridge and the station would have a car park with space for up to 100 cars as well as facilities for drop-off, taxis and bus services.

Let’s hope the lie of the land, enables the architects to design a good station.

Wikipedia also says this as the reason for building the station.

It was identified that one of the key benefits of reopening Horden station rather than any of the other closed stations on the line was its close proximity to Peterlee which has grown significantly since 1964 and thus, if constructed, a new station in Horden could allow 61,000 residents to benefit from improved access to employment opportunities across the region.

It sounds to me like this station is needed. I would hope to go when this station opens, as it could be a day to remember  in Horden.

Train Services

Looking at Passenger Services in the Wikipedia entry for the Durham Coast Line, it would appear that local services between Middlesbrough and Newcastle are a bit thin, at just hourly. An important local route like this deserves to have at least two trains per hour.

Grand Central and Virgin do run trains through the area to Sunderland, but I don’t think they will stop at Horden Peterlee station.

Certainly, a smart new station deserves to have a train service to natch.

Warrington West

Warrington West station will be on the southern Liverpool to Manchester Line between Sankey and Warrington Central stations.

This Google Map shows the area of the station.

It looks like the development site in the South East corner of the map could be Chapelford urban village, with the railway running East-West across the map.

This article in the Warrington Guardian gives more details of the station.

This is a visualisation of the station.

As this station is halfway between Liverpool and Manchester, I have a feeling, this could be a very busy station.

Train Services

Services at Warrington Central station has as many as eight trains per hour passing through.

There is a lot of scope to provide a quality southern service between Liverpool and Manchester calling at Liverpool South Parkway, Widnes and Warrington Central. Warrington West station could be a part of this and I could see it getting between two and four semi fast trains per hour

Reading Green Park

Reading Green Park station will be on the Reading to Basingstoke Line between Reading West and Mortimer stations.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note the Reading to Basingstoke Line down the Western edge of the map.

Train Services

It is expected that services will be at least two trains per hour at the station.

The Reading to Basingstoke Line has the following characteristics.

  • It is electrified with 25 KVAC overhead at the Reading end.
  • It is electrified with 750 VDC third rail at the Basingstoke end.
  • It has less than fifteen miles of line without electrification,

Consequently, I feel that in a few years, this line will be within the capability of a battery powered train, charging on the short lengths of electrification at either end.

Bow Street

Bow Street station will be on the Cambrian Line between Aberwrystwyth and Borth stations.

This article on the BBC gives more details.

Train Services

The Cambrian Line has approximately pne train per hour between Aberwrystwyth and Shrewsbury.

Portway Parkway

Portway Parkway station will be a one platform station on the Severn Beach Line adoining the Portway Park-and-Ride.

Train Services

Wikipedia describes the Services on the line.

Costs Summary

This article from Railway Gazette International has a detailed summary of the costs of the five stations.

Horden Peterlee, Warrington West and Reading Green Park are medium-sized schemes to support housing and business developents and make it easier to get to employment in nearby towns and cities. But they will cost an average of £15million a station.

Certainly, where I live in Dalston and all across North London, the improved North London Line has had several positive effects.

Bow Street and Portway Parkway are small one-platform schemes, which hopefully will provide better Park-and-Ride facilities. The averae cost is a lot less at £4.5million.

Conclusion

It is well-proven that new stations are a way of increasing train usage and they are generally welcomed by train companies, passengers, residents and businesses.

But as the costs for these stations show, medium-sized full-function stations don’t come cheap.

Surely, though on the right housing or business development, designing a station into the development, as at Warrington West or Reading Green Park, must give a payback to the developer in easier sales and rentals.

The two simpler schemes would seem to be part of a trend, where well-designed one-platform stations are built for Park-and-Ride facilities, hospitals, housing developments and sporting venues.

I discuss these stations in The Rise Of One-Platform Stations.

Bow Street and Portway Parkway stations will add two more one-platform stations.

 

 

 

 

July 29, 2017 Posted by | Finance, Travel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Grayling Sets An Excellent Precedent

This article on the BBC is entitled St Mellons Private Rail Station Welcomed By Chris Grayling.

This is said.

A proposal to create Wales’ first privately-owned railway station has been welcomed by UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

He told MPs he was very happy to see plans for St Mellons Parkway in east Cardiff go ahead.

Cardiff South and Penarth MP Stephen Doughty said south Wales needed new stations to make the most out of rail electrification.

The new station has been provisionally named Cardiff Parkway.

Mr Doughty said the proposals to build the station in east Cardiff were “backed by the private sector, backed cross party, backed by the Welsh Government, backed by Cardiff council”

Chris Grayling said he was happy to see it go ahead and that as it was privately-funded, it didn’t need the same form of public funding.

At the present time, there is only one privately-funded station; Southend Airport.

There is also this article on Wales Online, which is entitled There could be 12 new railway stations built in Wales.

Builders are going to be busy!

July 23, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 4 Comments

New Station Collateral Benefits

In Cambridge Gets Its Own Mini-Crossrail, I wrote about the opening of the new Cambridge North station.

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Great Northern completes refurb of Fen Line Class 387s and it details how Great Northern now runs air-conditioned trains through Cambridge to Cambridge North and Ely stations and then down the Fen Line to Kings Lynn.

It also appears that some of the fast Cambridge trains have now been extended to Ely with a second stop in Cambridge at the new station.

So the opening of Cambridge North station, seems to have given Ely and the Fen Line a better service to London.

Cambridge North is not a run-of-the-mill station.

  • It is large with lots of parking.
  • It is close to the Cambridge Science Park.
  • It is in the middle of a very affluent area, where train travel is used extensively toget to London, Cambridge and Norwich.

But perhaps most importantly, two major train operators; Great Northern and Greater Anglia,provide services to London.

Have Great Northern’s air-conditioned trains fired the first shots in the competition between the two operators?

Passengers will be the main beneficiary in the next few years.

 

May 24, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Cambridge Gets Its Own Mini-Crossrail

This morning I went to see the very newly-opened Cambridge North station.

The station is probably best described as a Parkway station close to the Cambridge Science Park and the A14 on the Northern Side of Cambridge.

The station is not short of facilities and service pattern.

  • Two through platforms and one bay platform, all capable of taking a 12-car Class 700 train.
  • Two avoiding lines for freight trains.
  • Full step-free access.
  • 450 car park spaces.
  • Parking under cover for a thousand bikes.
  • Access to the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway.
  • Close to the A14.
  • Customer toilets.
  • A proper ticket office and several ticket machines.
  • A square outside to meet people if it’s sunny.
  • Retail units and some greenery will be added later.
  • Currently, it is planned for about four trains per hour to stop at Cambridge North station in each direction.

According to this article on the BBC, the station cost £44million.

It is all pretty impressive and practical.

Are Cambridge, Cambridge North, Waterbeach and Ely stations the first four stations of a Cambridge Mini-Crossrail or Metro?

Consider.

  • Cambridge South station could be built close to Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
  • Lines fan out from Ely to Bury St. Edmunds and Ipswich, Kings Lynn, Norwich and Peterborough.
  • Lines will fan out to the South of Addenbrooke’s to Bedford, Hitchin and Kings Cross, Stansted and Liverpool Street.
  • Cambridge station has more platforms than many terminal stations.
  • Cambridge North station has space for extra platforms.
  • A lot more trains could stop in the stations.

It will be interesting to see how the system develops in the future.

May 21, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment