The Anonymous Widower

South Wales Metro Railway Works Imminent

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

Work starts on the third of August and is described in this sentence,

TfW is now starting to build the South Wales Metro which will see major infrastructure works including the electrification of over 170km of track mostly with overhead lines, station and signalling upgrades and the construction of at least five new stations.

It will be one of the most innovative electrification projects ever performed in the UK, as it uses discontinuous electrification.

I explained discontinuous electrification in More On Discontinuous Electrification In South Wales, where I said this.

In the July 2018 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article entitled KeolisAmey Wins Welsh Franchise.

This is said about the electrification on the South Wales Metro.

KeolisAmey has opted to use continuous overhead line equipment but discontinuous power on the Core Valley Lnes (CVL), meaning isolated OLE will be installed under bridges. On reaching a permanently earthed section, trains will automatically switch from 25 KVAC overhead to on-board battery supply, but the pantograph will remain in contact with the overhead cable, ready to collect power after the section. The company believes this method of reducing costly and disruptive engineering works could revive the business cases of cancelled electrification schemes. Hopes of having money left over for other schemes rest partly on this choice of technology.

Other points made include.

    • A total of 172 km. of track will be electrified.
    • The system is used elsewhere, but not in the UK.
    • Disruptive engineering works will be avoided on fifty-five structures.
    • Between Radyr and Ninian Park stations is also proposed for electrification.

Nothing is said about only electrifying the uphill track, which surely could be a way of reducing costs.

I wrote the last sentence, as surely coming down the hills, the trains can be powered by Newton’s friend.

The New Stations

This article on Business Live, gives the list of new stations and their completion dates.

 

If the builders crack on as they did at Horden station, I wouldn’t be surprised to see those dates achieved, with time to spare.

July 10, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage, Transport | , , , , | 9 Comments

Proposal To Reopen Camberwell Railway Station

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

It is an excellent article on the pros and cons of the station, with a good picture and a map from TfL.

Ian says, that there are worries, that the station would slow trains for commuters further out.

July 8, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Beeching Reversal – The Aston Rowant Extension Of The Chinnor Railway

The Aston Rowant Extension Of The Chinnor Railway is one of the projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

This Googlr Map shows the location of the proposed Aston Rowant station.

Note.

  1. The motorway junction is Junction 6 of the M40, where it joins the B4009.
  2. The hotel at the top of the map, which is marked by a pink arrow,  is the Mercure Thame Lambert.
  3. A road passes the hotel and goes South East parallel to the motorway.

The original Aston Rowant station, appears to have been in the triangular piece of land to the East side of the road.

Wikipedia gives a plan for the future of the Aston Rowant station under a section called Future, where this is said.

There were reports in 1997 that the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway (CPRR) wished to extend its operations to Aston Rowant. A joint venture between the CPRR and Chiltern Railways was also proposed whereby the national rail operator would construct a new station at Aston Rowant to allow frequent weekday commuter services along the Icknield Line to connect with main line traffic through to London Marylebone, leaving the CPPR to run heritage services at other times. The scheme, which would cost around £3m, would seek to take advantage of Aston Rowant’s location near junction 6 of the busy M40 motorway.

There doesn’t seem to be any more details on the Internet, but I could see the full scheme having the following.

  • A car-park by Junction 6 of the M40.
  • Minimal station facilities.
  • A shuttle train to Princes Risborough station using a diesel or battery Class 230 train or perhaps a heritage diesel.
  • At weekends, it would act as parking for the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway.

It could be a deal, where everyone’s a winner. Local commuters, Park-and-Ride users, the CPRR and Chiltern Railways could all benefit.

Conclusion

This is a simple scheme and I suspect the biggest problem could be getting the planning permission.

 

July 2, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Reopening Of Wellington and Cullompton Stations

This is one of the successful bids in the First Round of the Restoring Your Railway Fund.

Wellington and Collumpton stations were two stations on the Bristol-Exeter Line.

  • Both stations were rebuilt in the 1930s with passing loops. Was this to increase the capacity of the route?
  • Both were closed under Beeching in 1964.
  • Little remains of either station.

Looking back with 20-20 hindsight, this does seem to have been a rather pointless closure of two stations serving towns of around ten thousand people, who might need to commute for work.

The South Devon Metro

Some years ago, Devon County Council put forward a plan to create a South Devon Metro based on the various lines centred on Exeter St. David’s station.

Services were also planned to connect Newton Abbot, Okehampton, Plymouth, Taunton and intermediate stations into the system.

  • Some new stations were also added.
  • The trains were to be upgraded, which appears to be happening.

But the development seems to have somewhat stalled.

Collumpton Station

The Wikipedia entry for Collumpton station says this about reopening.

As part of the “Devon Metro” plans by Devon County Council there would be a station near the location of the old station and could form part of the route. The station is a ‘possible’ long term proposal.

I should declare an interest in Collumpton, in that my maternal grandmother was an Upcott, who was born in Dalston. Her father was not the first son of the Devon family from Collumpton, that are mentioned in the Wikipedia entry for the town, so he left for London to find fame and fortune. He set up as a wheelwright opposite Dalston Junction station. She was considered posh by my parents.

I would look forward to taking my Upcott genes back to their ancestral home, when the new station opens.

This Google Map shows Collumpton and its transport network.

Note.

  1. The M5 going down the East side of the map.
  2. The Exeter-Bristol Line follows the M5 on the Western side.
  3. Collumpton Services were built on the site of the former station.

This Google Map shows the area to the South of Collumpton services at an enlarged scale.

There certainly seems to be space to the West of the roundabout.

  • As Tiverton Parkway station is only a few miles to the North, it may be possible to avoid providing hundreds of parking spaces.
  • It’s not a long walk to the Town Centre, which could be along the River Culm.
  • Plenty of bicycle parking would probably be a good idea.
  • Could the road bridge over the railway, be made step-free for travellers, who need to cross the tracks?

I certainly think there are possibilities to integrate the station into the town.

Wellington Station

The site for a new Wellington station is less obvious to locate.

This Google Map shows how the Exeter-Bristol skirts round the Northern side of the town.

Note.

  1. The road that runs up the Western side of the block containing the three large buildings, is the B3187.
  2. It’s also called Station Road. So that must be a clue!

This Google Map shows where the B3187 crosses the railway.

It matches the photo of the goods shed at Wellington station in Wikipedia.

The old station site, must be high on the list of possible sites for the new station.

The Trains

These are a few thoughts on the trains serving Collumpton and Wellington.

Could There Be A Taunton Route In The South Devon Metro?

Consider.

  • When Collumpton and Wellington stations are completed, there will be three stations between Exeter and Taunton.
  • The third station will be Tiverton Parkway station.
  • So if the South Devon Metro were to be created on this route, surely it would be better to go all the way to Taunton station, which has six platforms.
  • This extension would also give easy access to the heritage West Somerset Railway, which runs to the coast at Minehead station.

It would certainly seem likely that a local service from Exeter on this route would terminate at Taunton station.

Could Exeter And Taunton Be Run By Battery-Electric Trains?

As it’s only just over thirty miles, the answer must be in the affirmative!

But they would probably need to be charged at both ends of the route.

On the other hand, all routes on the South Devon Metro could probably be run using battery-electric trains.

Could Paddington And Exeter Be Run By Battery-Electric Trains?

It looks a tough ask, but I feel it is possible with discontinuous electrification.

  • Paddington and Newbury is already electrified.
  • Exeter and Taunton could be electrified.

With a short length of electrification or what I call an electrification island  at Westbury, I am fairly sure, that a Hitachi AT-300 train fitted with batteries could handle the 170 miles.

Would A Fast-Slow Strategy Help?

Greater Anglia do their Norwich-in-Ninety services with two trains.

  • On the hour, a fast train heads off to Norwich or London, only stopping at Ipswich.
  • Ten minutes later, a slow train follows it calling at all stations.

Greater Anglia intends to aim for three trains per hour (tph) between London and Norwich in both directions; two fast and one slow.

Would a philosophy like this work between Paddington and Exeter?

Conclusion

Reopening Collumpton and Wellington stations is a simple and easy-to-implement scheme, that will improve public transport in this area of Devon and Somerset.

 

May 24, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Plan Submitted For £18.6 Million Station At Soham

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

The new Soham station appears to be simple.

  • A single 102 metre long platform, that will be able to handle a four-car Class 755 train.
  • A car-park. Fifty spaces is mentioned on Wikipedia.
  • Trains on Greater Anglia‘s two-hourly service between Ipswich and Peterborough service will call. This service is planned to go hourly, with some services extended to Colchester.
  • The picture in the article shows a bridge.
  • Opening could be in Spring 2022.

I’ve read somewhere that the station will have provision for adding a second platform.

  • Looking at the maps of the railway through Soham, it is double-track at the Southern end of the village and single-track at the Northern end.
  • The single track section, which reaches as far as Ely, will possibly be doubled before 2030.
  • East West Rail are also proposing a new A14 Parkway station at Chippenham Junction, which is close to both the A14 and the A11. I wrote about this in East West Rail Makes ‘Powerful Case’ For Direct Services From Ipswich And Norwich To Oxford.
  • The Mayor of Cambridge has plans for a direct service between the new Soham station and Cambridge.

It’ll all be happening in this part of East Anglia. Most is driven by the expansion and success of Cambridge.

It’s all a bit different to the dark days of the Second World War, when the town suffered from the Soham Rail Disaster.

Will there be a memorial at the new station?

A14 Parkway Station

This report on the East-West Rail web site is entitled Eastern Section Prospectus and gives full details of their proposals for the section of East West Rail to the East of Cambridge.

The report recommends building a new station at Chippenham Junction, which is to the East of Newmarket, close to the junction of the A11 and the A14 . The station is referred to in the report as A14 Parkway station.

This Google Map shows the location of the proposed station.

Note.

  1. The A14 going across the top of the map.
  2. The junction between the A14 and the A11 in the top-right corner.
  3. The triangular Chippenham Junction, pointing North to Ely, South to Newmarket and East to Bury St. Edmunds and Ipswich.

Having lived in that area for nearly thirty years, I believe that this is a much-needed station.

  • Stations in the area, with the exception of Cambridge North are short of car parking.
  • There would be two trains per hour (tph) to/from Bury St. Edmunds and Ipswich.
  • There would be one tph to Cambridge, Cambridge North, Cambridge South , Ely, Peterborough and the new Soham station.

I suspect that there could be shuttle trains to provide extra services to Cambridge and Ely.

A shuttle train could run between A14 Parkway, Cambridge South, Ely, Soham and back to A14 Parkway.

  • The service might be arranged so that trains reverse at Cambridge South, Ely and A14 Parkway stations.
  • As an alternative trains could reverse at Bury St. Edmunds instead of A14 Parkway.
  • Trains would call at all intermediate stations.

I believe that if the A14 Parkway station were to be built, that there would be no need to rebuild the Western track of Chippenham Junction to enable services between Cambridge and Soham via Newmarket.

May 4, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Cambridge South Station To Be Developed

To me, this was one of the highlights of the 2020 Budget today.

As I lived near Cambridge for over a dozen years and regularly played real tennis at the University, I know the scientific heartbeat of the City better than most.

I have discussed the problems of running a business in the City, with many, who are associated with some of the City’s most successful businesses. I have also funded several ventures in the area.

The same basic problems keep arising.

  • Lack of premises, offices and workshops, of all sizes and qualities.
  • Lack of staff to work in the ventures.
  • Lack of suitable housing, where staff moving to the City can live.
  • Staff are being forced to live further out and the roads, railways and other pubic transport systems don’t have the capacity.
  • Inadequate connections to Stansted Airport.

In the last few years, the transport has improved.

  • A sophisticated and award-winning Park-and-Ride running to five large car parks ringing the City has been developed.
  • The Park-and-Ride also caters for cyclists.
  • Cambridge North station has been opened close to the Cambridge Science Park and the A14 Cambridge Northern By-Pass, with a 450-space car-park and space for a thousand bikes.
  • The Cambridge Guided Busway has been developed across the City from Huntingdon station to Trumpington via Cambridge Science Park, Cambridge North station, Cambridge City Centre, Cambridge bus station, Cambridge station and Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
  • Addwnbrooke’s Hospital is a Major Trauma Centre.
  • The forecourts of Cambridge and Cambridge North stations have been developed to create good interchanges and meeting points.
  • Great Northern now has two fast and two stopping trains per hour (tph) between London Kings Cross and Cambridge and/or Cambridge North stations, with trains continuing alternatively half-hourly to Ely or Kings Lynn.
  • Thameslink has two tph between Brighton and Cambridge.
  • Thameslink also has two tph between Cambridge and London Kings Cross, which will be extended to Maidstone East station, within a couple of years.
  • Greater Anglia run an hourly service between Norwich and Stansted Airport via Ely, Cambridge North and Cambridge stations.
  • Greater Anglia run two tph between London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North stations.
  • Greater Anglia run an hourly service between Ipswich and Cambridge via Bury St. Edmunds and Newmarket stations.
  • All Greater Anglia trains are being replaced with new and much larger Class 755 or Class 720 trains.
  • CrossCountry run an hourly service between Birmingham New Street and Stansted Airport via Peterborough, March, Ely, Cambridge North and Cambridge stations.
  • The A14 and A428 roads are being improved between Cambridge and the A1.
  • The East West Railway between Reading and Cambridge via Oxford, Milton Keynes and Bedford is being developed and should open before the end of the decade.

But Cambridge still needs better links to the surrounding countryside and further.

  • Connections to Peterborough could be doubled to hourly.
  • Cnnections to Haverhill and Wisbech are poor.
  • East West Railway have ideas about improving connections to both East and West of Cambridge.
  • Better connections are needed at Addenbrooke’s to connect the rail system to the hospital and the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

Cambridge South station would be the icing on the cake.

  • It could be the Southern terminus of a Wisbech service.
  • It could be on a service of at least four tph between Ely and Cambridge South stations via Waterbeach, Cambridge North and Cambridge stations.
  • It would bring Addenbrooke’s and the Cambridge Biomedical Campus within easy commuting of London.
  • It would be well-connected to Bedford, London, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Reading, Stansted Airport and Stevenage.
  • There have also been rumours, that the station could be connected to the Cambridge Autonomous Metro, which would be developed from the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway and the Park-and-Ride.

Cambridge South station would be the hub, that ties all the various routes together,

The station could be a fairly simple station to build, by just building platforms and buildings alongside the existing electrified line.

This Google Map shows the hospital. and the West Anglia Main Line running North-South to the West of the hospital.

Note the West Anglia Main Line running North-South to the West of the hospital.

Station Design

This page on the Network Rail web site gives a basic design.

  • Four platforms with step-free access via a footbridge and lifts;
  • Platforms with seating and shelter for waiting passengers;
  • A ticket office and ticket machines, along with automatic ticket gates;
  • Taxi and passenger drop off facilities:
  • Facilities such as a retail/catering unit, a waiting room and toilets;
  • Blue badge parking; and
  • Cycle parking.

The page then gives various location options.

Services

These are my take on the initial services, based on the current ones and those proposed by the East West Railway.

  • 1 tph – CrossCountry – Birmingham New Street and Stansted Airport, via Coleshill Parkway, Nuneaton, Leicester, Melton Mowbray, Oakham, Stamford, Peterborough, March, Ely, Cambridge North, Cambridge, Cambridge South and Audley End.
  • 1 tph – Greater Anglia – Norwich and Stansted Airport, via Wymondham, Attleborough, Thetford, Brandon, Lakenheath, Ely, Cambridge North, Cambridge, Cambridge South, Whittlesford Parkway and Audley End.
  • 1 tph – Greater Anglia – Ipswich and Cambridge South via Needham Market, Stowmarket, Bury St. Edmunds, A14 Parkway, Newmarket and Cambridge.
  • 2 tph – Greater Anglia – Cambridge North and London Liverpool Street via Cambridge, Cambridge South, Audley End, Bishops Stortford, Harlow, Broxbourne and Cheshunt.
  • 1 tph – Greater Anglia – Wisbech and Cambridge South via March, Ely, Cambridge North and Cambridge.
  • 2 tph – Thameslink – Cambridge and Brighton via Stevenage, London St. Pancras, East Croydon and Gatwick Airport.
  • 2 tph – Thameslink – Cambridge and Maidstone East via Stevenage, London St. Pancras and Blackfriars
  • 2 tph – Great Northern – Ely/Kings Lynn and London Kings Cross via Stevenage.
  • 1 tph – East West Railway – Norwich and Reading or Oxford, via Ely, Cambridge North, Cambridge, Cambridge South, Bedford and Milton Keynes.
  • 1 tph – East West Railway – Manningtree and Reading or Oxford, via Ipswich, Needham Market, Stowmarket, Bury St. Edmunds, A14 Parkway, Newmarket, Cambridge, Cambridge South, Bedford and Milton Keynes

Note.

  1. I have left out a few less important stations.
  2. I have extended the current Ipswich and Cambridge service to Cambridge South.
  3. I have added East West Rail’s proposed A14 Parkway station.
  4. I have added a Wisbech and Cambridge South service.

This simple service gives the following frequencies.

  • 6 tph – Ely and Cambridge North
  • 8 tph – Cambridge North and Cambridge
  • 10 tph – Cambridge and Cambridge South
  • 2 tph – Cambridge/Cambridge South and Stansted Airport
  • 1 tph – Cambridge North/Cambridge/Cambridge South and Kings Lynn
  • 8 tph – Cambridge/Cambridge South and London
  • 2 tph – Cambridge/Cambridge South and Ipswich.
  • 2 tph – Cambridge North/Cambridge/Cambridge South and Norwich.
  • 1 tph – Cambridge North/Cambridge/Cambridge South and Peterborough.
  • 6 tph – Cambridge/Cambridge South and Stevenage.

I feel strongly about the following.

  • If six tph is thought to be ideal between Cambridge/Cambridge South and Stevenage, then surely more services are needed between Cambridge and Ipswich, Kings Lynn, Norwich. Peterborough and Stansted Airport. Perhaps as many as four tph are needed to give a Turn-Up-And-Go service.
  • The frequency through Ely, Cambridge North, Cambridge and Cambridge should be as high as possible. With digital signalling ten tph must be possible.

At least Greater Anglia have plenty of Class 755 trains.

Conclusion

Rishi Sunak is right to build Cambridge South station.

You might even be able to argue, that the work done on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus could be key in fighting diseases like the coronavirus.

March 11, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Worcestershire Parkway Station Is Now On The Map

This article on the BBC is entitled Worcester’s New Railway Station’s Set To Open In December.

This Google Map showsWorcestershire Parkway station, at the place, where the Cotswold and Cross Country lines cross.

Services will probably start to call at the timetable change of December 15th, 2019

Judging by the bands of car parking shown in this map, they are expecting a sizeable number of passengers.

I just tried to book a ticket to the station and it is not in the on-line ticketing system yet as a destination, although it does show up as a stop on these journeys.

  • CrossCountry – Nottingham and Cardiff – Hourly
  • GWR – Paddington and Worcestor, Great Malvern and Hereford.- Hourly

Two other hourly CrossCountry services also pass through.

October 13, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

St. James Station To Reopen

This article on the Liverpool Echo is entitled Merseyside Set To Get Two New Train Stations As Part Of Massive Transport Investment.

One of the new stations will be a reopened Liverpool St. James station, which closed in 1917.

This Google Map shows the location of the station.

In the North-East corner is Liverpool’s Anglican cathedral.

In the South-West, there is a large road junction, where Parliament Street meets St. James Place. To the South-West of this junction, there is a black hole.

This Google Map shows a close-up of the hole.

Note the railway tracks in the dark of the hole.

This was where St. James station was located between Liverpool Central and Brunswick stations.

It would be a challenge to design a station, but one that a decent architect should enjoy.

This page on Disused Stations gives more details and several pictures of the station in all its glory.

August 31, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The New White Hart Lane Station Opens

The new White Hart Lane station opened on Monday and I went along this morning and took these pictures.

Some points about the design.

  • The station has three entrances on the stadium side and two on the other.
  • Materials used include terracotta pots and weathered steel.
  • There is a pedestrian tunnel under the railway for those that don’t want to use the trains.
  • There are two sets of stairs to both platforms
  • There are lifts to both platforms.
  • The station can probably handle twelve-car Class 710 trains if required on match days.
  • There are solar panels on the roof.
  • The station  must have some of the tallest overhead electrification gantries in the UK.

From what one of the project managers told me, it appears that the station was built by cleaning, refurbishing and strengthening the viaduct and then erecting an independent steel frame on either side to form the station.

It looks like a technique that could be used on other stations on viaducts.

It’s certainly a better station with a larger capacity, than the previous one, that I used many times back in the 1960s.

The old station is to be demolished, at some point in the future.

Conclusion

It is an excellent station, that should serve its main function of getting supporters to and from Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium.

But will the station and the soon-to-arrive new trains have other effects.

  • As I said earlier, the design could be repeated with different cladding for other stations on viaducts.
  • I believe that good public transport infrastructure tends to calm crime and anti-social behaviour. Only the statistics will give a verdict.
  • Will the passenger numbers rise through the station?
  • Will the station and the stadium attract some better class retain premises and cafes, as the Emirates has done?

And perhaps most importantly! Tottenham Hotspur now has two new stations to serve the ground! Will this reduce the congestion caused by large crowds?

 

August 28, 2019 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Step-Free Access At Brough Station

On my last trip North, I changed trains at Brough station.

The station appears to have been recently rebuilt and has full step-free access using ramps, as these pictures show.

This Google Map shows the station.

It may work, but those ramps could take some time, if you’re pushing a heavy buggy or wheelchair.

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

So would a factory-built bridge like this be installed be installed today, if Brough or a similar simple station was being rebuilt or built from scratch?

  • Concrete bases to support the bridge, would be built in the appropriate position on both platforms.
  • An electrical supply would be provided.
  • A special train would then arrive with the bridge and an crane to lift the bridge into place.
  • A couple of hours later, the bridge would have been erected.

If the system is designed designed, it should be no more difficult than installing a new ticket machine.

Conclusion

How much would be saved in the design and building of new stations, if they were designed around a step-free bridge like this?

But the biggest saving is surely in the time needed to build the station?

June 6, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments