The Anonymous Widower

An Express Service On The Overground

On Thursday, last week, I was travelling between Highbury & Islington and Willesden Junction stations on the North London Line of the London Overground. From Willesden Junction I intended to get the Bakerloo Line to Paddington for my trip to Okehampton.

There had been a problem and the train was rather full.

The surprise was that after Camden Road station it went non-stop to Willesden Junction.

It got me thinking.

  • The Class 378 train sped along, as does the occasional Class 800 train, that is going to and from Hitachi’s North Pole Depot.
  • It has been proposed to turn back some trains at Camden Road to increase frequencies through East London, which I wrote about in Will Camden Road Station Get A Third Platform?.
  • There is a spare rarely-used bay platform at Willesden Junction station with short-distance step-free access to the two platforms that serve the Watford DC and Bakerloo Lines.
  • I seem to remember that original plans for the North London Line including extending some services to Willesden Junction.

Could an express service be run between Stratford and Willesden Junction stations?

  • It would stop at all stations to the East of Camden Road.
  • It would terminate bay platform at Willesden Junction.
  • It would improve the interchange at Willesden Junction station for many travellers.

I suspect though, it would need improved signalling, which is probably the reason it has never been implemented.

 

 

November 25, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 4 Comments

Freight On The East West Main Line

This page on the East West Main Line Partnership web site, describes their ambitions towards freight.

This is said.

The freight and logistics sector is one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions. Greater use of rail for freight and logistics provides additional resilience for the business community, while also acting on the need to achieve net zero.

Whilst not part of East West Rail, removing the bottlenecks on the Felixstowe to Midlands
corridor remains an immediate strategic priority for three sub-national transport bodies (England’s Economic Heartland, Transport East and Midlands Connect wrote to the Chancellor in this regard in July 2020).

However, the design and operation of the East West Main Line should take into account and contribute to the delivery of the requirements of the national rail freight strategy. In due course Great British Railways will have a statutory duty to consider the needs of rail freight and to take those needs into account in planning the future of the rail network.

It is therefore important that the East West Main Line is designed and delivered with the capability of supporting rail freight services without the need for additional works. In this regard due consideration must be given to ensuring that the impact on local communities of rail freight movements is minimised.

I have my thoughts.

Cutting Carbon Emissions In The Freight Sector

The obvious way to do this, would be to electrify every line in the country and purchase a new fleet of electric freight locomotives.

But the problems with this are the expense, disruption and timescale, it would take to replace all the locomotives and put up electrification on every line that might possibly be used by freight trains and  locomotives.

A solution is needed now, not in ten years.

But there are already solutions being demonstrated or developed that will cut carbon emissions from locomotives.

  • Stadler bi-mode Class 88 locomotives are already hauling freight trains and cutting emissions by using electric power where possible. But there are only ten of these locomotives.
  • The thirty Stadler tri-mode Class 93 locomotives on order for Rail Operations Group could or well be a game-changer. It is already known, that they will be able to cruise at 100 mph using electrification, so they will be able to mix it with the expresses on the Great Eastern Main Line. I suspect that these locomotives have been designed to be able to haul freight trains out of the Port of Felixstowe, by juggling the power sources.
  • In Freightliner Secures Government Funding For Dual-Fuel Project, I describe how Clean Air Power are converting a Class 66 locomotive to run on both diesel and hydrogen. This could be a very fruitful route, especially, if the diesel-electric Class 66 locomotives could be fitted with a pantograph to use electrification where it exists.
  • I have been very impressed with the work Wabtec have done to convert a large American diesel-electric locomotive into a battery electric locomotive. I wrote about it in FLXdrive ‘Electrifies’ Pittsburgh. In Could Class 66 Locomotives Be Converted Into Battery-Electric Locomotives?, I concluded that it might be possible to convert Class 66 locomotives into battery-electric locomotives using Wabtec’s technology.
  • In Powered By HVO, I talk about DB Cargo’s use of HVO to cut carbon emissions.

I am also sure that there are probably other solutions to decarbonise freight locomotives under development.

I would hope that over the next few years the amount of diesel fuel used in the freight sector will decrease significantly.

Improved Freight Routes

Currently, freight trains to and from Felixstowe take one of these routes.

  1. Via London – Using the Great Eastern Main Line, North London Line or Gospel Oak and Barking Line, and the West Coast Main Line.
  2. Via Nuneaton – Going via Bury St. Edmunds, Ely, Peterborough and Leicester before joining the West Coast Main Line at Nuneaton.
  3. Via Peterborough – Going via Bury St. Edmunds, Ely and Peterborough before taking the East Coast Main Line or the Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Line via Lincoln.

The first two routes routes have capacity problems, whereas the third route has been improved by the use of the Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Line.

Problems on the first two routes include

  • The Great Eastern Main Line is only dual-track.
  • The Great Eastern Main Line and the routes through London are at full capacity.
  • The route via Nuneaton does not have much electrification.

The East West Main Line will open up a new route directly across the country for some services, that currently go via the London or Nuneaton routes.

  • Felixstowe and Birmingham
  • Felixstowe and Glasgow
  • Felixstowe and Liverpool
  • Felixstowe and Manchester

These services could use the East West Main Line to connect with the West Coast Main Line at Bletchley, if the track were to be modified.

In addition services between Felixstowe and South Wales and the West Country could use the East West Main Line to Oxford and then join the Great Western Main Line at Didcot.

The East West Main Line could reduce the number of freight trains on these routes.

  • Great Eastern Main Line
  • North London Line
  • Gospel Oak and Barking Line
  • Peterborough and Leicester Line

The first three lines are certainly at capacity.

The Newmarket Problem

In Roaming Around East Anglia – Coldhams Common, I talked about previous plans of the East West Rail Consortium, who were the predecessor of the East West Main Line Partnership for the rail line between Chippenham Junction and Cambridge through Newmarket.

In this document on their web site, this is said.

Note that doubling of Warren Hill Tunnel at Newmarket and
redoubling between Coldham Lane Junction and Chippenham Junction is included
in the infrastructure requirements. It is assumed that most freight would operate
via Newmarket, with a new north chord at Coldham Lane Junction, rather than
pursuing further doubling of the route via Soham.

I have a feeling that if this plan were to be pursued, the Racing Industry in Newmarket wouldn’t be too keen on all the freight trains passing through the town.

Knowing the town and the racing industry and horses, as I do, I suspect that there will need to be serious noise mitigation measures through the town.

One would probably be a noise limit on the trains passing through, which might be very difficult for long freight trains, even if hauled by a much quieter battery-electric or hydrogen-powered locomotive.

Were the East West Main Line Partnership thinking of Newmarket, when they wrote the last sentence of the web page for freight.

In this regard due consideration must be given to ensuring that the impact on local communities of rail freight movements is minimised.

Newmarket is a unique town with a strong character and you shouldn’t take the town on lightly.

Related Posts

Birth Of The East West Main Line

Freight On The East West Main Line

Route Map Of The East West Main Line

 

 

 

October 8, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Getlink And CargoBeamer Team Up To Launch The First Unaccompanied Cross-Channel Service By Rail

The title of this post, is the same as that of this Press Release from Getlink.

This is the first paragraph and a half.

Eurotunnel and CargoBeamer have signed a partnership which will see the launch of a new, 100% unaccompanied rail freight transport service across the Short Straits, from Calais to Ashford.

The extension of the rolling motorway from Perpignan to Ashford is a logical step in developing a future international intermodal network between the Channel and the Mediterranean. A second route from Domodossola, in the Alps region, to Calais will also be extended to Ashford after its launch in early October.

These are other points from the press release.

  • Both new railway services will prevent 8,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
  • They will help to partially resolve the shortage of truck drivers in the UK and Europe.
  • They will relieve traffic congestion on motorways.

It sounds like it could be a worthwhile service with more than the obvious winners.

Who Is CargoBeamer?

This is their web site and it displays an introductory video and this mission statement.

The Road to Rail Sustainable Transport Solutions

CargoBeamer use specially designed rail wagons and this page, which is entitled The Unique CargoBeamer Technology, explains how it works.

This is a claim from the web site.

As soon as the train has arrived, all semi-trailers are transferred automatically and with the simple push of a button. It takes CargoBeamer just 20 minutes to unload 36 semi-trailers from an intermodal train and load the same number at the same time. Both steps simply happen simultaneously. By comparison, a conventional crane terminal needs around three to four hours to handle such a train.

That is certainly not slow.

This video gives a full explanation about how CargoBeamer works.

Note.

  1. They can carry all types of trailers.
  2. The video shows the terminal built on a straight single-track line, where freight trains enter, load and unload and leave.

I must admit I like the design of the terminals, which they describe as Compact2 and Compact3, which gives a clue as to their design.

Their first terminal has opened in Calais and is described in this Press Release, which is entitled CargoBeamer Opens Terminal In Calais.

What Routes Are CargoBeamer Planning?

According to their web site, CargoBeamer have opened or are planning terminals at the following places.

  • Ashford – UK
  • Calais – France
  • Domodossola – Italy
  • Duisburg – Germany
  • KaldenKirchen – Germany
  • Perpignan – France
  • Poznan – Poland

Routes opened or planned include.

  • Domodossola – Calais – Ashford
  • KaldenKirchen – Domodossola
  • Perpignan – Calais – Ashford
  • Poznan – Duisburg

You can certainly understand, why Calais is their first terminal.

Serving The UK 

 

This article on Railway Gazette is entitled CargoBeamer Network Extended To The UK.

This is a paragraph.

Eurotunnnel told Railway Gazette International the aim was to build up to operating whole trains through the tunnel as the market develops, and ultimately to run trains to destinations further inland.

That seems a clear statement of intent.

Ashford could be an easy terminal to develop and I suspect it could be between Ashford and Folkestone, where the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and the M20 run close together. The compact size of the terminal would surely help.

The other sensible place for a terminal would be Barking, which can accept trains to the larger European gauge.

But it would be convenient, if trains could be run through the Channel Tunnel to places like Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Scotland.

Gauge clearance of routes to the European size would be a challenging, expensive and disruptive process.

But in Gauge Improvements Across London, I indicated that an enhanced gauge of W12 could be possible through London on the Gospel Oak to Barking and North London Lines.

But seeing that CargoBeamer appear to be targeting the UK, perhaps they have an innovative wagon design for services to the UK, which could have a height limit for trucks.

September 21, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Decarbonisation Of London’s Freight Routes

London has a rail capacity problem, for both freight and passenger trains.

This report from Network Rail is entitled The London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

Surprisingly, the report only mentions decarbonisation once and that is when it is talking about moving the AC/DC switchover point on the West London Line to Kensington Olympia station.

This section from the report describes how dual-voltage electrically-hauled freight trains would handle the electrification on the West London Line.

Although moving the changeover to Shepherd’s Bush would eliminate the need for passenger trains to slow down or stop at North Pole Junction, electrically hauled freight trains will still need to switch power supply modes whilst moving, wherever the AC/DC interface is located.

Due to the substantial incline facing trains running northward on the WLL, which increases in severity towards the Willesden end of the route, it would be preferable for the changeover to be made as far south as possible. This would enable freight trains to slow down to switch traction before reaching the worst of the gradient, giving them a much better chance of regaining line speed once drawing power from the OLE.

Although Kensington Olympia is less than a mile to the south of Shepherd’s Bush, the intervening route section is almost entirely level, with the incline commencing just before Shepherd’s Bush station and continuing to rise sharply along the rest of the WLL. The capacity and performance benefits of relocating the changeover are therefore likely to be greater if the overhead wires are extended to Kensington Olympia, removing the risk to traffic flow that would remain if freight trains were forced to switch whilst running uphill.

This would prepare the West London Line for the transition to electric freight that will be necessary as part of the decarbonisation of the railway over the next thirty years.

Resolving the current traction changeover issues for freight as well as passenger trains would support this transition by encouraging freight operators to invest in electric locomotives to run on the orbital routes, in the confidence that this constraint has been addressed.

Where is Network Rail’s guidance?

These are a few thoughts.

How Many Of The Freight Trains Through London Could Be Electrically-Hauled?

Most freight trains are hauled by diesel Class 66 locomotives.

But that doesn’t mean that these freight trains between say Ipswich and Cardiff are electrically-hauled on what is a fully-electrified route.

There are various reasons, why they aren’t.

  • There are large fleets of cheap, nasty and polluting Class 66 locomotives.
  • There isn’t many suitable electric locomotives.
  • The routes to major ports like Felixstowe, Immingham, London Gateway and Southampton are not electrified.
  • Many busy cross-country freight routes like Ipswich and Peterborough are not fully-electrified.

But powerful bi-mode electric-locomotives, like the Class 88 locomotives, that can do many tricky trips in the UK are available. Although there are only ten of them.

I have done a quick analysis and found the following.

  • There are a good proportion of lighter weight freight trains, that are not long and heavy.
  • There are a good proportion of freight trains running over routes that are electrified with 750 VDC third-rail equipment.
  • There are also some freight services, where a dual-voltage locomotive would be needed.
  • If a locomotive had a Last-Mile capability of perhaps forty miles, a lot of services could be electric-hauled.

Network Rail should do an analysis of all freight working in the various regions of the UK, to find out what are the needs of the electrically-hauled market in the various regions of the UK.

Could There Be A London Locomotive?

I wouldn’t want to get too regional, but looking at the figures, I think the following locomotive could be developed to handle freight trains in and through London.

I’m very much of the opinion, that the UK needs a battery-electric locomotive with the following capabilities.

  • The physical size and axle loading of a Class 68 or 88 locomotive.
  • Up to 4 MW when running on 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • Up to 2.5 MW when running on 750 VDC third-rail electrification.
  • Up to 2 MW for 30 minutes when running on battery power.
  • Regenerative braking to batteries.

Note.

  1. The axle load of a Co-Co Class 66 locomotive is 21.6 tonnes.
  2. The axle load of a Bo-Bo Class 88 locomotive is 21.5 tonnes.

But the overall weight of the Class 66 locomotive is fifty percent higher.

I believe, that a locomotive with this specification could replace the ubiquitous, cheap, smelly, polluting and carbon-emitting Class 66 locomotive on a lot of duties. Especially, in London and the South East, where there is a lot of running on tracks with 750 VDC third-rail electrification.

I believe that this locomotive would be able to haul some of the heaviest trains on these routes.

  • Ipswich and the Port of Liverpool via London.
  • Ipswich and Wentloog (Cardiff) via London.
  • Ipswich and Coatbridge via London.
  • Ipswich and Birmingham via London.
  • Ipswich and Crewe via London.

These routes cry out for the ability to be able to do the last miles into Felixstowe.

Ipswich And Felixstowe On Battery Power

If the diesel engine and all the associated gubbins are removed from a Class 88 locomotive, a battery with the same weight could be fitted into the locomotive, without unduly affecting handling or axle load.

Doing rough calculations, this battery would have a capacity of at least 1 MWh.

  • This battery would be able to supply 2.5 MW for twenty-four minutes, which would be a very valuable Last-Mile capability.
  • The battery would also enable regenerative braking to the battery, which would increase the energy efficiency of the locomotive.

These capabilities may open up the possibility of battery-electric haulage of some trains into and out of the Port of Felixstowe.

  • Freight trains take around 32 minutes to travel from the Great Eastern Main Line to the port.
  • Freight trains take around 36 minutes to travel from the port to the Great Eastern Main Line.
  • The route is fairly level although there is the climb over Spring Road viaduct.

If necessary, the route could be electrified, between the Great Eastern Main Line and Derby Road station.

  • The climb over the viaduct would be electrified.
  • Only 21 minutes of the route would not be electrified.

I believe that, it would be possible for Stadler to design a dual-mode battery-electric locomotive that could haul most of the heaviest trains into and out of the Port of Felixstowe.

This would effectively decarbonise a large proportion of freight traffic on the North London and Gospel Oak to Barking Lines.

Third-Rail Freight

In addition, a locomotive of this class, with a third-rail capability would be able to handle the numerous freight trains on the third-rail network.

With third-rail electrification, there are always worries that it can supply enough power.

  • A Class 66 locomotive has a diesel engine generating 2.5 MW.
  • An eight-car Class 700 train is rated at 3.3 MW. These trains are seen all over South London.
  • A Class 377 train is rated between 0.8 and 1.2 MW. Pairs of these trains are seen all over South London.

It would appear that an electric Class 66-sized locomotive would only draw the same power as typical trains on the third-rail network.

So perhaps a dual-voltage electric locomotive suitable for freight through much of South London, wouldn’t leave all of South London in the dark?

Junctions Which Need Upgrading

The London Rail Freight Strategy, identifies these junctions as needing an upgrade.

Would these junctions be easier to upgrade, if the designers of the junctions, knew that many more trains using the junction were to be hauled by powerful and spritely electric-haulage?

West London Line Issues

Two of the posts covering the London Rail Freight Strategy concern the AC/DC  switchover on the West London Line.

The proposed locomotive wouldn’t care where the switchover happened, as it would use batteries to achieve a smooth switchover.

Conclusion

The UK rail network needs a go-anywhere battery-electric locomotive.

Related Posts

These are related posts about the London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

Doubling Harlesden Junction

East Coast Main Line South Bi-Directional Capability

Gauge Improvements Across London

Gospel Oak Speed Increases

Headway Reductions On The Gospel Oak To Barking, North London and West London Lines

Heavy Axle Weight Restrictions

Kensal Green Junction Improvement

Longhedge Junction Speed Increases

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Kensington Olympia

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Shepherd’s Bush

Nunhead Junction Improvement

Stratford Regulating Point Extension

Will Camden Road Station Get A Third Platform?

Will Clapham Junction Station Get A Platform 0?

June 28, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Heavy Axle Weight Restrictions

London has a rail capacity problem, for both freight and passenger trains.

This report from Network Rail is entitled The London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

One of the secondary recommendations of the report is to improve the capacity to handle trains with heavy axle weight restrictions.

The report explains it like this.

In consultation with train drivers for the Freight Operating Companies and Network Rail structural engineers, this study has identified a list of Heavy Axle Weight restrictions on routes used by freight in London, which are known to negatively impact the movement of heavier trains around the
network.

The resulting proposal, as part of the LRFS, is for packages of works to enable the removal of these restrictions to be progressed.

A general package of cross-London interventions, targeting structures across a variety of routes, has been outlined for development. In addition, a large stretch of the Gospel Oak-Barking Line, where Heavy Axle Weight traffic is subject to a blanket 20mph speed restriction, should be the focus of a dedicated package of works to facilitate the removal of that restriction and to strengthen the route so that it is capable of accommodating future
rail freight growth.

Although these proposed packages of works should address the structures currently known to cause speed restrictions that negatively impact freight operations in London, maintaining the infrastructure to a level that can safely accommodate Heavy Axle Weight loads is an ongoing challenge for
Network Rail.

There are no permanent fixes when dealing with structures that have been bearing railway traffic since the nineteenth century. Ongoing maintenance funding to prevent the need for HAW speed restrictions to be imposed in the first place is just as critical as interventions to remove existing ones.

It sounds to me that, as with Gauge Improvements Across London, there needs to be a full survey to identify all the places, where heavy axle weight is a problem.

It does sound from the report, that some of the remedial works will not be trivial.

Conclusion

I don’t think Network Rail will be keen to rebuild all the freight routes through London.

Related Posts

These are related posts about the London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

Decarbonisation Of London’s Freight Routes

Doubling Harlesden Junction

East Coast Main Line South Bi-Directional Capability

Gauge Improvements Across London

Gospel Oak Speed Increases

Headway Reductions On The Gospel Oak To Barking, North London and West London Lines

Kensal Green Junction Improvement

Longhedge Junction Speed Increases

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Kensington Olympia

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Shepherd’s Bush

Nunhead Junction Improvement

Stratford Regulating Point Extension

Will Camden Road Station Get A Third Platform?

Will Clapham Junction Station Get A Platform 0?

 

June 27, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 17 Comments

East Coast Main Line South Bi-Directional Capability

London has a rail capacity problem, for both freight and passenger trains.

This report from Network Rail is entitled The London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

One of the secondary recommendations of the report is to use the bi-directional capability of the East Coast Main Line to create another freight route through London.

The report explains it like this.

The southern end of the East Coast Main Line, from Kings Cross to Stoke Tunnel (about five miles south of Grantham), is due to be the first part of a national main line to be fully converted to European Train Control System (ETCS) digital signalling.ETCS, because it does not rely on fixed lineside equipment facing one way or another, is bi-directional by nature.

This presents an opportunity for freight to make use of a new routeing at the southern end of the East Coast Main Line, which current signalling and track layout do not permit.

This strategy therefore proposes installing new track layout features that would facilitate this routeing for freight trains, enabling them to take advantage of the bi-directional capability brought about through ETCS deployment.

The main expected change would be the creation of a facing crossover at Bowes Park, to enable southbound freight trains to run onto the Down Enfield Viaduct in the up direction, before continuing onwards to the terminal at Ferme Park or accessing the Gospel Oak-Barking Line at Harringay.

This example shows an advantage of digital in-cab signalling.

This map from cartometro, shows the lines between Bowes Park and Alexandra Palace stations.

Freight trains coming from the North regularly take the Hertford Loop Line and arrive in North London at Bowes Park

Currently, they sneak down the Eastern side of the East Coast Main Line and then take a route across London, which probably uses the North London Line.

What is proposed is that with an extra crossover just South of Bowes Park station, freight trains will crossover and take Enfield Viaduct the wrong way to the Western side Alexandra Palace station.

The Enfield Viaduct is the track taken from Alexandra Palace station to Bowes Park station, by trains going to Enfield. It takes a bit of a loop to the West.

This second map from cartometro, shows the lines South of Alexandra Palace stations.

Note.

  1. Hornsey is the next station to the South of Alexandra Palace.
  2. The Eastern side of the East Coast Main Line is crowded with maintenance depots for trains.
  3. The orange line is the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

By the use of digital signalling a new freight route through North London can been created.

Conclusion

How many other places can this technique be used?

Related Posts

These are related posts about the London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

Decarbonisation Of London’s Freight Routes

Doubling Harlesden Junction

Gauge Improvements Across London

Gospel Oak Speed Increases

Headway Reductions On The Gospel Oak To Barking, North London and West London Lines

Heavy Axle Weight Restrictions

Kensal Green Junction Improvement

Longhedge Junction Speed Increases

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Kensington Olympia

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Shepherd’s Bush

Nunhead Junction Improvement

Stratford Regulating Point Extension

Will Camden Road Station Get A Third Platform?

Will Clapham Junction Station Get A Platform 0?

June 27, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Gospel Oak Speed Increases

London has a rail capacity problem, for both freight and passenger trains.

This report from Network Rail is entitled The London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

One of the secondary recommendations of the report is to increase speed through Gospel Oak.

The report explains it like this.

This proposal would see the current 20mph line speeds through Gospel Oak increased, through an upgrade to the junction immediately to the west of the station. Improving the flow of traffic through this critical flat junction, where the North London Line and Gospel Oak-Barking Line meet, would be of benefit for the wider operations and performance of these orbital routes. Freight trains in particular, which run non-stop through Gospel Oak, using all available routes, would see a notable uplift to how quickly they are able to pass through the area.

This would not only contribute to achieving the fast end-to-end cross-London paths that are a priority for freight but would also reduce the time trains would occupy the junction, increasing performance resilience at Gospel Oak, the impact of which would drive improvement right across the North London Line and Gospel Oak and Barking Line.

This map from cartometro shows the track layout at Gospel Oak.

Note.

  1. The double-track North London Line passing through Platforms 1 and 2 at Gospel Oak station.
  2. The double-track Gospel Oak and Barking Line passing to the North of the station.
  3. Platform 3 is a West-facing bay platform for services to Barking.
  4. There is no Westbound connection to Platform 3.
  5. All tracks in the map are hace 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

The two double-track railways merge west of the station at Gospel Oak junction.

This Google map shows the same area.

 

Note.

  1. Gospel Oak junction is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Platform 1 and 2 of Gospel Oak station are in the South-East corner of the map.

This Google map shows the junction to a larger scale.

There would appear to be space to the North of the junction for expansion.

It might even be possible to squeeze in another line, so that trains can go straight through at a faster speed.

Conclusion

This looks like another junction, that could be easy to improve on an engineering basis.

But whether the locals will accept it quietly could be another matter.

Related Posts

These are related posts about the London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

Decarbonisation Of London’s Freight Routes

Doubling Harlesden Junction

East Coast Main Line South Bi-Directional Capability

Gauge Improvements Across London

Headway Reductions On The Gospel Oak To Barking, North London and West London Lines

Heavy Axle Weight Restrictions

Kensal Green Junction Improvement

Longhedge Junction Speed Increases

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Kensington Olympia

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Shepherd’s Bush

Nunhead Junction Improvement

Stratford Regulating Point Extension

Will Camden Road Station Get A Third Platform?

Will Clapham Junction Station Get A Platform 0?

June 27, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 16 Comments

A London Overground Class 378 Train In Platform 11 At Stratford Station

Trains on the North London Line to Stratford station normally terminate in Platform 1 or 2.

The train I got today terminated in Platform 11.

This platform is usually used for services up the Lea Valley.

June 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 4 Comments

Headway Reductions On The Gospel Oak To Barking, North London and West London Lines

London has a rail capacity problem, for both freight and passenger trains.

This report from Network Rail is entitled The London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

One of the recommendations of the report is to reduce headway on the Gospel Oak To Barking, North London and West London Lines.It says this about the reducing the headway.

These are improvements on which this strategy is dependent, but are expected to be realised through wider
enhancement programmes, so are not being directly proposed by the LRFS.

Later in the report, this paragraph is expanded.

Signalling enhancements to facilitate consistent 3-minute headways on the three orbital lines where these are not currently feasible will be necessary, if growth akin to the timetable solution identified by the capacity analysis for this study is to be realised.

It is not the role of the LRFS to specify the nature of these upgrades, however it is expected that the required headway reductions are most likely to be achieved in a more manageable and cost-effective way through the deployment of European Train Control System (ETCS) digital signalling.

Currently, in the UK, this type of signalling is working successfully on Thameslink and is currently being rolled out on Crossrail and the Southern section of the East Coast Main Line.

Conclusion

Full digital signalling would appear to be the solution.

But then it is to many capacity problems around the UK rail network.

Related Posts

These are related posts about the London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

Decarbonisation Of London’s Freight Routes

Doubling Harlesden Junction

East Coast Main Line South Bi-Directional Capability

Gauge Improvements Across London

Gospel Oak Speed Increases

Heavy Axle Weight Restrictions

Kensal Green Junction Improvement

Longhedge Junction Speed Increases

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Kensington Olympia

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Shepherd’s Bush

Nunhead Junction Improvement

Stratford Regulating Point Extension

Will Camden Road Station Get A Third Platform?

Will Clapham Junction Station Get A Platform 0?

June 22, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Kensal Green Junction Improvement

London has a rail capacity problem, for both freight and passenger trains.

This report from Network Rail is entitled The London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

One of the recommendations of the report is to improve Kensal Green junction. It says this about the improvements.

Upgrade of the junction, moving it slightly to the east and realigning the layout, to facilitate faster crossing speeds sufficient for a 3-minute planning margin.

This map from cartometro.com shows the track layout between Harlesden in the West to Kensal Rise station in the East.

 

Note.

  1. Harlesden, Willesden Junction Low Level and Kensal Green stations are on the shared tracks of the Bakerloo and Watford DC Lines.
  2. Willesden Junction High Level and Kensal Rise are stations on the North London Line.
  3. Kensal Green & Harlesden is a former station on the North London Line, which is shown on the map as dotted platforms.
  4. Kensal Green Junction is to the West of Willesden Junction High Level station.
  5. The City Lines, which are shown in black connect the North London Line to the West coast Main Line and the important freight yards at Wembley.
  6. The black tracks at the bottom of the map are the West Coast Main Line.

This Google Map shows Kensal Green Junction.

Note.

  1. The railway is the sandy scar across the top of the map.
  2. The Kensal Green Turnout is in the North-East section of the map.
  3. The Kensal Green Junction and the City Lines are in the North-West corner of the map.
  4. The road over the railway in the middle of the map is Wrottesley Road.

These pictures show the Kensal Green Turnout.

And these show Kensal Green Junction and the City Lines.

Note.

  1. The railway has generous margins.
  2. The City Lines are electrified.
  3. The North London Line is electrified.
  4. The Kensal Green junction appears to be fully electrified.
  5. All electrification is 25 KVAC overhead.

There would be plenty of space to install a modern efficient junction.

This is said in the Network Rail document about the improvement to Kensal Green Junction.

Kensal Green Junction, just to the northeast of Willesden Junction High Level station on the North London Line, is a key location for the functioning of the orbital routes.

It connects the North London Line to the West Coast Main Line and Wembley Yard, a vital link for cross-London intermodal flows.

Westbound freight trains must cross over the flat junction to access the City lines towards the West Coast Main Line, a conflicting move with any eastbound London Overground or freight services from Willesden Junction High Level. Ensuring these moves can take place as quickly and as smoothly as possible is essential to the efficient use of capacity on the North London Line.

The proposed enhancement would upgrade the junction, moving it slightly to the east and realigning the layout, to facilitate faster crossing speeds.

Currently trains from the City lines (in the eastbound direction) are limited to 10 mph over Kensal Green Junction, while trains towards the City lines (in the westbound direction) are limited to 15 mph.

This scheme would increase speeds through the junction so that trains can safely cross it a
minimum of 3 minutes after a conflicting movement – they currently have to wait at least 4 minutes.

Although this is a relatively minor scheme, it could have a significant positive impact on both capacity and performance in the area.

I find the last paragraph very important. So does this improvement scheme offer good value to money?

Could The Junction Be Used By Passenger Trains?

Consider.

  • Nothing is mentioned about passenger trains.
  • Electric passenger trains are nippier because of better acceleration.
  • No scheduled services appear to use the City Lines
  • But I did find an empty stock movement from Wembley Sidings to Gospel Oak.

If the junction could be improved would there be any reason to run passenger trains through the junction?

Suppose, High Speed Two, during the rebuilding of Euston station, decided to stop the Watford DC Line services from using Euston station.

If the Class 710 trains of the London Overground could terminate at say Camden Road station, this would give passengers on the Northern part of the Watford DC Line another route to Central London by changing at West Hampstead station for Thameslink or the Jubilee Line or Camden Road station for the Northern Line by walking between the two Camden stations.

I would expect there may need to be some extra crossovers, so that trains from the Watford DC Lines could access the City Lines to get to and from Kensal Green junction.

In Will Camden Road Station Get a Third Platform?, I outlined how Camden Road station could get a third platform, as is also proposed in the LRFS.

But suppose though the existing Platform 2 at Camden Road station were to be diverted into two platforms.

  • A Platform 2 East handling services to and from the East.
  • A Platform 2 West handling services to and from the West.

That would do nicely.

Conclusion

Improving Kensal Green Junction may improve passenger services, especially if High Speed Two work at Euston means the Watford DC services have to be suspended.

Related Posts

These are related posts about the London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

Decarbonisation Of London’s Freight Routes

Doubling Harlesden Junction

East Coast Main Line South Bi-Directional Capability

Gauge Improvements Across London

Gospel Oak Speed Increases

Headway Reductions On The Gospel Oak To Barking, North London and West London Lines

Heavy Axle Weight Restrictions

Longhedge Junction Speed Increases

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Kensington Olympia

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Shepherd’s Bush

Nunhead Junction Improvement

Stratford Regulating Point Extension

Will Camden Road Station Get A Third Platform?

Will Clapham Junction Station Get A Platform 0?

June 21, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 15 Comments