The Anonymous Widower

Beeching Reversal – New Station For Langport And Somerton Area

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

This Google Map shows the Langport and Somerton area.

Note.

  1. This map is probably best clicked to see in a large size.
  2. Langport is in the South-West corner of the map.
  3. Somerton is in the North-East corner of the map.
  4. The Reading-Taunton Line goes through both villages, although both stations are now closed.
  5. Somerton station was in a cutting in the middle of the village.

The station’s location is shown in this second Google Map.

According to the Wikipedia entry for Somerton station, this seems to be the plan.

A May 2018 transport strategy suggested that a station should be opened to serve the Somerton and Langport area.

Judging from the map, there should be space for a two-platform station.

Services Though Somerton Station

Currently, there are three Great Western Railway (GWR) services on this route.

  • London Paddington and Exeter St. Davids via Reading, Newbury, Pewsey, Westbury, Castle Cary, Taunton and Tiverton Parkway.
  • London Paddington and Plymouth via Reading, Taunton, Tiverton Parkway, Exeter St Davids, Newton Abbot and Totnes.
  • London Paddington and Penzance via Reading, Taunton, Tiverton Parkway, Exeter St Davids, Newton Abbot, Totnes, Plymouth, Liskeard, Bodmin Parkway, Lostwithiel, Par, St Austell, Truro, Redruth, Camborne and St Erth.

All services have a frequency of one train per two hours (tp2h)

The frequency of trains between Reading and Taunton on the 24th July was around each hour as follows.

  • 7 – 4/1
  • 8 – 4/1
  • 9 – 5/2
  • 10 4/0
  • 11 6/2
  • 12 5/2
  • 13 – 5/1
  • 14 – 5/2
  • 15 – 4/1
  • 16 – 3/0
  • 17 – 7/2
  • 18 – 3/0
  • 19 – 3/0
  • 20 – 3/0
  • 21 – 3/1
  • 22 – 0/0
  • 23 – 0/0
  • 24 – 1/1

Note.

  1. The first figure is the total number of trains per hour (tph).
  2. The second figure is the total number of freight tph.

There is under two tph in both directions and under one freight tph.

As the Reading-Taunton Line is a 110 mph route, my scheduling experience, says that with 125 mph Class 800 trains running all the passenger services, there should be some space for a few more services on the route.

So could this mean a fourth service between London Paddington and the South West?

Are we seeing the emergence of a stopping service, between London Paddington and Exeter St. Davids?

Hitachi’s Proposed Class 800 Trains With Batteries

Hitachi’s proposed train is described in this infographic.

Note the phrase – Allows Discontinuous Electrification; at the top of the infographic.

Suppose the train ran these legs.

  • Newbury – Westbury – 42 miles
  • Westbury – Taunton – 48 miles
  • Taunton – Exeter St. Davids – 30 miles
  • Exeter St. Davids – Plymouth – 52 miles

All would be under the 55 mile limit for battery range.

Conclusion

It looks like GWR are building up to increase services between London Paddington and Exeter St Davids.

 

 

 

 

July 26, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Beeching Reversal – Increased Service Provision Bodmin General-Bodmin Parkway

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

This Google Map shows the relationship of the two Bodmin General and Bodmin Parkway stations.

The two stations are clearly visible.

The aim of this Beeching Reversal project would appear to set up a more regular service between Bodmin Parkway station on the Cornish Main Line and Bodmin General station in the town.

This video shows some of the current trains run by the Bodmin and Wenford railway, between the two stations.

This article on Cornwall Live is entitled Plan To Link Heritage Railway At Bodmin To Mainline Train Services, gives a few scant details.

  • There will be a second platform at Bodmin General station.
  • This will allow extra services.

Looking at the space around Bodmin Parkway station, it should be possible to have a very comprehensive track layout, that connects the Bodmin branch to the main line.

It also appears that the platform is fully-funded from Great Western Railway (GWR) and Cornwall County Council.

What Do GWR Want In Return For Their Funding?

I think that GWR could have a couple of uses for a platform at Bodmin General station.

Reorganising The Services Between London Paddington and the South-West

Currently, there are three services on this route.

  • London Paddington and Exeter St. Davids via Reading, Newbury, Pewsey, Westbury, Castle Cary, Taunton, Tiverton Parkway.
  • London Paddington and Plymouth via Reading, Taunton, Tiverton Parkway, Exeter St Davids, Newton Abbot, Totnes.
  • London Paddington and Penzance via Reading, Taunton, Tiverton Parkway, Exeter St Davids, Newton Abbot, Totnes, Plymouth, Liskeard, Bodmin Parkway, Lostwithiel, Par, St Austell, Truro, Redruth, Camborne, St Erth.

All services have a frequency of one train per two hours (tp2h)

Perhaps by reorganising the train paths, GWR could run another 1 tp2h service between London Paddington and Bodmin or Newquay station after the Transformation Of The Newquay Line.

Joining And Splitting Between London Paddington And The South-West

GWR’s Hitachi Class 80x trains have the ability to run in pairs, that are split and joined at convenient places en route.

This YouTube video, shows them doing it in Plymouth station.

As a means of evening out passenger loadings on pairs of trains running to the South-West, the two large stations of Exeter St. Davids and Plymouth would surely be possibilities for the manoeuvre.

I also think that Bodmin Parkway station could be used to split and join two trains from Cornwall.

  • One train would come from Penzance and the West.
  • The other could come from either Newquay or Bodmin General stations.
  • In the future the second train, might come from a new Wadebridge station.

Bodmin Parkway station might need some small modifications, but it should be remembered that the closely-related Class 395 trains, do the deed and quickly disappear at Ashford International station.

Creating A Bodmin-Wadebridge Railway

There are also plans in the Beeching Reversal projects for the Reinstatement of the Bodmin-Wadebridge Railway

For trains to travel between Bodmin Parkway and Wadebridge stations, trains will need to reverse in the new platform at Bodmin General station.

Local Services From Exeter And Plymouth

From what I have read on the Internet, the Bodmin and Wenford Railway is an important tourist attraction and is one of several around Bodmin including the beaches and the Camel Trail.

So perhaps, a connection between Bodmin and Exeter and/or Plymouth in a vintage InterCity 125 could be a nice little earner for GWR and an appropriate way to arrive at the steam railway.

Steam Local Services From Exeter And Plymouth

Why not?

The new platform at Bodmin General station could probably take a locomotive and four coaches and all the facilities to handle steam engines are in the vicinity of the station.

Could The New Platform Be Used For High Speed Freight Shuttles?

Why not?

Rail Operations Group is looking at the possibility of running Class 769 trains as freight shuttles.

Bodmin could make an ideal Cornish terminal, as it’s the right side of county and has the main A38 close by.

Could The Platform Be Used To Charge Battery Electric Trains?

I feel that First Group are starting to embrace battery trains.

In Hitachi Trains For Avanti, I talked about how a fellow First Group company were reporting, that they might have battery trains.

If Great Western Railway were running extra trains into Cornwall, would a new platform at Bodmin General station, be an ideal place to charge a train?

Conclusion

A second platform at Bodmin General station could open up a lot of possibilities for train operating companies.

 

July 25, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Beeching Reversal – Transforming The Newquay Line

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

 

This map clipped from Wikipedia shows the Newquay or Atlantic Coast Line.

When I first saw this map, my initial thought, was that the various loops and other sections of disused track could and/or might be added to the route.

Searching the Internet, I can’t find much information except from this article on Cornwall Live, which is entitled Cornish Railway lines Axed In Beeching Cuts Could Be Restored, where this is said.

Other projects focused on Cornwall bidding for the funding to develop business cases include one to transform the Newquay to Par railway line as well as a “Mid-Cornwall Metro” proposal.

Nothing more about the Atlantic Coast Line, is said in the article.

This Google Map shows where the Atlantic Coast Line joins the Cornish Main Line at Par.

Note.

  1. The Atlantic Coast Line goes off to the North West.
  2. Par station is shown towards the North-Western corner on the Cornish Main Line.
  3. The junction is designed, so that china clay trains can access the branch.

In the summer, Newquay station is also served by long-distance trains from London and Scotland.

This Google Map shows Newquay station in the heart of the town.

It could probably be called a Beach station, as the sea is just off the map.

Partly, because I lived in the town, from 1963 onwards, I can remember Felixstowe Beach station! Yarmouth Beach station has gone too, but how many others are left?

These are the only ones, I can think of with Beach in their name!

Perhaps, if Felixstowe ever gets the promised tram-train, that I wrote about in  Could There Be A Tram-Train Between Ipswich And Felixstowe?, one of the or more of the stops on the way to the Port of Felixstowe will be Felixstowe Beach.

Frequency Improvement

The current frequency on the Atlantic Coast Line is one train every two hours, which is not a family-friendly frequency, as if any child starts playing silly games, you have a two-hour wait for the next train.

I would suspect that an hourly service would create a large increase in ridership on the line.

As the journey takes fifty-one minutes between Par and Newquay, is the frequency defined by the need for one train to work the line, by shuttling from end-to-end?

So is one of the needs, some better track layouts, so that trains can pass and be parked at Par, whilst the crew has a refreshment break?

I also suspect, that if one of Network Rail’s track wizards got the layout spot on, which they seem to do, that this would make things easier for any china clay trains still passing through the area.

Could Newquay Be Used As An Extra Terminal?

I wonder how many people drive to Newquay, if they live in East Cornwall or Devon?

I have just looked at train times today from Plymouth to Newquay.

To be fair to Great Western Railway (GWR), I would only have a few minutes to wait at Par station, but there is only one train every two hours, due to the limitations on the Atlantic Coast Line.

With an improved higher-capacity track, GWR could call up the heavy brigade.

As full-length InterCity125s have served Newquay station for decades, four-car Castles like these, should manage the trip with ease.

Surely, once the Atlantic Coast Line can handle at least hourly trains, that would enable separate one train per two hour schedules.

  • Newquay and Par
  • Newquay and either Plymouth or Exeter.

This would improve service frequencies on both the Cornish Main Line and the Atlantic Coast Line and enable passengers to go between Exeter, Plymouth and Truro, and Newquay without changing trains.

Hopefully, the Cornish Main Line trains would serve appropriate refreshments at the correct times of the day.

Would Newquay Station Need A Second Platform?

Newquay station used to have more than one platform, but all the others were removed in British Rail’s ruthless quest to save money in the 1960s and 1970s.

I have never been to Newquay station, so I don’t know whether there is space to reinstate another platform.

However, I did find this video, which appears to be some very professional plans for Newquay station.

This video dates from 2008.

The video definitely says, that Newquay station needs an extra platform or two.

  • Two platforms would allow two trains to share the station.
  • A third platform would allow steam trains to visit.

The video also answers the age old question about why in many towns and cities, the railway station is often the best building, except for the church and the town or city hall.

Conclusion

It does appear to me, that giving the Atlantic Coast Line a modern track layout, will unlock a lot of possibilities that can be tried on the branch, to the benefit of all stakeholders.

 

 

July 24, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 7 Comments