The Anonymous Widower

Northern Powerhouse Rail – Significant Upgrades And Electrification Of The Rail Lines From Leeds And Sheffield To Hull

In this article on Transport for the North, which is entitled Northern Powerhouse Rail Progress As Recommendations Made To Government, one of the recommendations proposed for Northern Powerhouse Rail is significant upgrades and electrification of the rail lines from Leeds and Sheffield to Hull.

Northern Powerhouse Rail’s Objective For The Leeds and Hull Route

Wikipedia, other sources and my calculations say this about the trains between Leeds and Hull.

  • The distance between the two stations is 51.7 miles
  • The current service takes around 57 minutes and has a frequency of one train per hour (tph)
  • This gives an average speed of 54.4 mph for the fastest journey.
  • The proposed service with Northern Powerhouse Rail will take 38 minutes and have a frequency of two tph.
  • This gives an average speed of 81.6 mph for the journey.

This last figure of nearly 82 mph, indicates to me that a 100 mph train will be able to meet Northern Powerhouse Rail’s objective.

Northern Powerhouse Rail’s Objective For The Sheffield and Hull Route

Wikipedia, other sources and my calculations say this about the trains between Sheffield and Hull.

  • The distance between the two stations is 59.4 miles
  • The current service takes around 80 minutes and has a frequency of one tph.
  • This gives an average speed of 44.6 mph for the fastest journey.
  • The proposed service with Northern Powerhouse Rail will take 50 minutes and have a frequency of two tph.
  • This gives an average speed of 71,3 mph for the journey.

This last figure of over 70 mph, indicates to me that a 90 mph train will be able to meet Northern Powerhouse Rail’s objective.

Services From Hull Station

Hull station is a full interchange, which includes a large bus station.

  • Currently, the station has seven platforms.
  • There appears to be space for more platforms.
  • Some platforms are long enough to take nine-car Class 800 trains, which are 234 metres long.
  • There are some good architectural features.

If ever there was a station, that had basic infrastructure, that with appropriate care and refurbishment, could still be handling the needs of its passengers in a hundred years, it is Hull.

  • It would be able to handle a 200 metre long High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train, tomorrow.
  • It would probably be as no more difficult to electrify than Kings Cross, Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly or Paddington.
  • It would not be difficult to install charging facilities for battery electric trains.

These are some pictures of the station.

Currently, these are the services at the station, that go between Hull and Leeds, Selby or Sheffield.

  • Hull Trains – 7 trains per day (tpd) – Hull and London via Brough, Selby and Doncaster.
  • LNER – 1 tpd – Hull and London via Brough, Selby and Doncaster.
  • Northern Trains – 1 tph – Hull and Halifax via Brough, Selby, Leeds and Bradford Interchange.
  • Northern Trains – 1 tph – Hull and Sheffield via Brough, Gilberdyke, Goole, Doncaster, Rotherham Central and Meadowhall.
  • Northern Trains – 1 tph – Hull and York via Brough and Selby.
  • Northern Trains – 1 tph – Bridlington and Sheffield via Hull, Brough, Goole, Doncaster and Meadowhall.
  • TransPennine Express – 1 tph – Hull and Manchester Piccadilly or Manchester Airport via Brough, Selby, Leeds, Huddersfield and Stalybridge.

Note.

  1. I have included services through Selby, as the station is on the way to Leeds and is a notorious bottleneck.
  2. All services go through Brough.
  3. All trains work on diesel power to and from Hull.
  4. Hull Trains and LNER use Hitachi bi-mode trains, that work most of the route to and from London, using the 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  5. Northern use a variety of diesel trains only some of which have a 100 mph operating speed.

There would also appear to be freight trains working some of the route between Hull and Brough stations.

Upgrading The Tracks

I very much believe that to meet Northern Powerhouse Rail’s objectives as to time, that the lines to Hull from Leeds and Sheffield must have a 100 mph operating speed.

Hull And Leeds And On To London

This Google Map shows a typical section of track.

Note.

  1. Broomfleet station is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Brough station is just to the East of the middle of the map.
  3. Ferriby station is in the South-East corner of the map.

The Hull and Selby Line is fairly straight for most of its route.

The Selby Swing Bridge

The main problem is the Selby swing bridge, which is shown in this Google Map.

Note.

  1. The bridge was opened in 1891.
  2. It is a Grade II Listed structure.
  3. It is a double-track bridge.
  4. It swings through ninety degrees to allow ships to pass through.
  5. It has a low speed limit of 25 mph.
  6. The bridge regularly carries the biomass trains to Drax power station.

This page on the Fairfield Control Systems web site, describes the major refurbishment of the bridge.

  • The bridge structure has been fully refurbished.
  • A modern control system has been installed.
  • The page says the bridge glides to an exact stop.

Network Rail are claiming, it will be several decades before any more work needs to be done on parts of the bridge.

It looks to me, that Network Rail have decided to live with the problems caused by the bridge and automate their way round it, if possible.

Level Crossings

One general problem with the route between Hull and Selby is that it has around a dozen level crossing, some of which are just simple farm crossings.

The main route West from Selby goes to Leeds and it is double track, fairly straight with around a dozen level crossings.

West from Selby, the route to the East Coast Main Line to and from London is also double track and reasonably straight.

But it does have level crossings at Common Lane and Burn Lane.

The Google Map show Burn Lane level crossing, which is typical of many in the area.

Hull And Sheffield

The other route West from Hull goes via Goole and Doncaster.

This Google Map shows the Hull and Doncaster Branch between Goole and Saltmarshe stations.

Note.

  1. The Hull and Doncaster Branch runs diagonally across the map.
  2. Goole and its station is in the South West corner of the map.
  3. The Hull and Doncaster Branch goes leaves the map at the North-East corner and then joins the Selby Line to the West of Gilberdyke station.

This Google Map shows that where the railway crosses the River Ouse there is another swing bridge.

This is the Goole Railway Swing Bridge.

  • The bridge was opened in 1869.
  • The maximum speed for any train is 60 mph, but some are slower.
  • It is a Grade II* Listed structure.
  • In the first decade of this century the bridge was strengthened.
  • It appears to carry a lesser number of freight trains than the Selby bridge

As with the Selby bridge, it appears to be working at a reasonable operational standard.

I’ve followed the line as far as Doncaster and it is fairly straight, mostly double-track with about a half-a-dozen level crossings.

Updating To 100 mph

It looks to my naïve eyes, that updating the lines to an operating speed of 100 mph, should be possible.

But possibly a much larger problem is the up to thirty level crossings on the triangle of lines between Hull, Leeds and Sheffield.

Full ERTMS In-Cab Digital Signalling

This is currently, being installed between London and Doncaster and will allow 140 mph running, which could save several minutes on the route.

The next phase could logically extend the digital signalling as far as York and Leeds.

Extending this signalling to Hull and Sheffield, and all the lines connecting the cities and towns of East Yorkshire could be a sensible development.

It might even help with swing bridges by controlling the speed of approaching trains, so that they arrive at the optimal times to cross.

Electrification

Eventually, all of these routes will be fully electrified.

  • Hull and Leeds via Brough, Selby and Garforth.
  • Hull and Scarborough via Beverley and Seamer.
  • Hull and Sheffield via Brough, Goole, Doncaster and Rotherham.
  • Hull and York via Brough and Selby.
  • York and Scarborough via Seamer.

But there are two problems which make the electrification of the routes to Hull challenging.

  • The Grade II Listed Selby swing bridge.
  • The Grade II* Listed Goole Railway swing bridge.

There will be diehard members of the Heritage Lobby, who will resist electrification of these bridges.

Consider.

  • Both bridges appear to work reliably.
  • Adding the complication of electrification may compromise this reliability.
  • Train manufacturers have developed alternative zero-carbon traction systems that don’t need continuous electrification.
  • Hitachi have developed battery electric versions of the Class 800 and Class 802 trains, that regularly run to and from Hull.
  • Other manufacturers are developing hydrogen-powered trains, that can use both hydrogen and overhead electrification for traction power.

My Project Management experience tells me, that electrification of these two bridges could be the major cost and the most likely cause of delay to the completion of the electrification.

It should also be noted that Network Rail are already planning to electrify these routes.

  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury on the TransPennine Route, which might be extended to between Huddersfield and Leeds.
  • York and Church Fenton

There is also electrification at Doncaster, Leeds and York on the East Coast Main Line, which would probably have enough power to feed the extra electrification.

Hitachi’s Regional Battery Trains

Hitachi and Hyperdrive Innovation are developing a Regional Battery Train.

This Hitachi infographic gives the specification.

Note.

  1. The train has a range of 90 kilometres or 56 miles on battery power.
  2. It has an operating speed of 100 mph on battery power.
  3. Class 800 and Class 802 trains can be converted to Hitachi Regional Battery Trains, by swapping the diesel engines for battery packs.

When running on electrification, they retain the performance of the train, that was converted.

Discontinuous Electrification

I would propose using discontinuous electrification. by electrifying these sections.

  • Hull and Brough – 10.5 miles
  • Hull and Beverley – 13 miles
  • Doncaster and Sheffield – 20 miles
  • Selby and Leeds – 21 miles
  • Selby and Temple Hirst Junction – 5 miles
  • Seamer and Scarborough – 3 miles

This would leave these gaps in the electrification in East Yorkshire.

  • Brough and Doncaster – 30 miles
  • Brough and Selby – 21 miles
  • Brough and Church Fenton – 31 miles
  • Seamer and Beverley – 42 miles
  • Seamer and York – 39 miles

A battery electric train with a range of fifty miles would bridge these gaps easily.

This approach would have some advantages.

  • There would only need to be 72.5 miles of double-track electrification.
  • The swing bridges would be untouched.
  • TransPennine services terminating in Hull and Scarborough would be zero-carbon, once Huddersfield and Dewsbury is electrified.
  • LNER and Hull Trains services to London Kings Cross would be zero-carbon and a few minutes faster.
  • LNER could run a zero-carbon service between London Kings Cross and Scarborough.

But above all, it would cost less and could be delivered quicker.

Collateral Benefits Of Doncaster and Sheffield Electrication 

The extra electrification between Doncaster and Sheffield, would enable other services.

  • A zero-carbon service between London Kings Cross and Sheffield.
  • Extension of Sheffield’s tram-train to Doncaster and Doncaster Sheffield Airport.
  • A possible electric service along the Dearne Valley.

As plans for Sheffield’s rail and tram system develop, this electrification could have a substantial enabling effect.

Hydrogen

This map shows the Zero Carbon Humber pipeline layout.

Note.

  1. The orange line is a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline
  2. The black line alongside it, is a proposed hydrogen pipeline.
  3. Drax, Keadby and Saltend are power stations.
  4. Easington gas terminal is connected to gas fields in the North Sea and also imports natural gas from Norway using the Langeled pipeline.
  5. There are fourteen gas feels connected to Easington terminal. Some have been converted to gas storage.

I can see hydrogen being used to power trains and buses around the Humber.

Conclusion

Discontinuous electrification could be the key to fast provision of electric train services between Leeds and Sheffield and Hull.

If long journeys from Hull were run using battery electric trains, like the Hitachi Regional Battery Train, perhaps hydrogen trains could be used for the local services all over the area.

Project Management Recommendations

I have proposed six sections of electrification, to create a network to allow all services that serve Hull and Scarborough to be run by battery electric trains.

Obviously with discontinuous electrification each section or group of sections to be electrified is an independent project.

I proposed that these sections would need to be electrified.

  • Hull and Brough – 10.5 miles
  • Hull and Beverley – 13 miles
  • Doncaster and Sheffield – 20 miles
  • Selby and Leeds – 21 miles
  • Selby and Temple Hirst Junction – 5 miles
  • Seamer and Scarborough – 3 miles

They could be broken down down into four sections.

  • Hull station, Hull and Brough and Hull and Beverley
  • Doncaster and Sheffield
  • Selby station, Selby and Leeds and Selby and Temple Hirst Junction.
  • Scarborough station and Scarborough and Seamer.

I have split the electrification, so that hopefully none is challenging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 27, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Northern Announce On Train Permit Scheme For Scooter Users

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

This is the opening paragraph.

A new scheme has been launched by train operator Northern which will allow mobility scooter users to travel to and from over 100 stations on the network.

Sounds like if you live in the North and have a mobility scooter, you should investigate the scheme.

October 30, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Northern Welcome New Link Between East And West Yorkshire

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Rail Operator, Northern Railway, is celebrating the improved links between East and West Yorkshire today (Dec 19) following the introduction of a new service on the network, providing a direct service between Halifax and Hull.

The tone may be a bit self-congratulatory by Northern, but it is to me a very necessary service.

  • The trains run hourly.
  • Looking at today’s early morning Saturday service, it appears to have doubled the frequency to and from Leeds.
  • Families and friends are more spread out these days..
  • Events like football matches and concerts bring in supporters and attendees from a lot further, than when the rail services were carved in stone.

I shall be very interested to see the figures for ridership on this new service..

The Suffolk Experience

Over the last few years, Suffolk’s cross-county service between Ipswich and Cambridge has gone from an hourly single-car Class 153 train through two and three-car Class 170 trains to the proposed four-car Class 755 trains.

Greater Anglia may be having trouble introducing the Class 755 train, but the proposed capacity increase is there. They are also proposing to double the frequency on the Eastern section of the route.

Nationwide

Hopefully, we’ll see more improvements in services on routes like these all over the country. Certainly, Northern and Greater Anglia have been increased threir train fleets to provide more services.

I would also like to see a nationwide capacity standard for routes like these between cities and large towns.

December 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Minister Quotes Definitive Dates For Final Northern Pacer Withdrawals

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Class 142 Pacers are expected to be withdrawn by Northern by February 17 2020, with all the ‘144s’ out of service by May 17 2020, according to Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris.

This is a mess and a mess, where the main culprits are not those usually blamed by the unfortunate travellers; Northern Rail  and the Government.

  • Network Rail made a terrible hash of installing electrification, mainly it appears to some bad surveying, some bad management decisions and their hiring of Carillion.
  • CAF for the late delivery of Class 195 and Class 331 trains.
  • Porterbrook and their contractor for the late delivery of Class 769 trains.

There was a similar problem on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line as Bombardier were having problems with the computer systems on the Class 710 trains, which came into service several months after the electrification was finally complete.

So Bombardier put their hands up and paid for a free month’s travel on the line.

Surely, those that are responsible for the Pacers still being in service, should follow Bombardier’s  lead.

 

October 31, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Pacers To Continue Into 2020, Operators Confirm

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Operators have confirmed that their Pacer diesel multiple-units will remain in service into early 2020, in spite of previous announcements that the unpopular four-wheeled vehicles dating from the 1980s would be withdrawn before enhanced PRM accessibility requirements come into force on January 1 2020.

The article then summarises the situation in the three operators running Pacers.

Northern

Some Pacers used by Northern will continue in service into 2020, because of late delivery of new Class 195 diesel trains and Class 331 electric trains.

They are also still awaiting delivery of eight Class 769 trains, which are very late into service.

Great Western

Great Western has said, that some Pacers will continue in service around Exeter.

No reason is given, but it does appear that because of non-delivery of electrification to Oxford and the late arrival of Crossrail, Great Western they still need Class 165 and Class 166 trains to work services for London commuters.

They are also still awaiting delivery of nineteen Class 769 trains.

Transport For Wales

Transport for Wales are in the same position as Great Western, in that the Class 769 trains, they ordered have still not been delivered.

The Operator Will Get The Blame!

Obviously, the operator will get the blame, but I would argue that all three have at least tried hard to avoid this crisis, as they knew the Pacers would have to be on their way to the scrapyard at the end of 2019.

  • If CAF had delivered their trains for Northern on time, things would be much better in the North.
  • If Porterbrook and their engineers had delivered the Class 769 trains on time, all three operators would be in a better position.

Hopefully, in a few months, the new trains will have been delivered and the Class 769 trains will have been created and in service.

 

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

Northern Retires First Pacer Train

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

You’d think they’d be missed by everybody!

On Monday, I talked to the driver of a Pacer at Manchester Piccadilly station and he gave the impression, that he will miss the trains.

August 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Rail Passengers Can Now Get From Farnworth To London In Two And A Half Hours

The title of this post is the same as that on this article on  This Is Lancashire.

It may seem to be a bit of a parochial story for those near Farnworth station in Greater Manchester, but it is a problem that sffects many rail passengers all over the UK.

From Farnworth, the quickest way to London, is not the obvious one to go to Manchester Piccadilly.

This may involve changes of trains and busy trains in the Manchester Rush Hour.

Locals find a better way, is to take a train the other way and catch a train from Wigan North Western., where the hardest thing is to decide, whether you want a coffee, as you walk across the platform to catch the London train.

The on-line timetable now has been fixed to offer this route in addition.

These computer-knows-best routes crop up everywhere.

If I want to get to Victoria station from the bus stop around the corner, the best way is to catch a 30 bus to Highbury & Isligton station. There is a walk through the everlasting road-works at the station and a long walk in a tunnel to get to the platform, but it works.

However, the recommended route is to take a 38 bus to Essex Road station and then go out of London, by one stop to Highbury & Islington station.

This route has three problems.

  • There is a double-crossing of busy roads at Essex Road station.
  • Essex Road station was last cleaned and given a makeover, when King George was on the throne.
  • The interchange at Highbury & Islington station is not for the unfit or anybody with a baggagge, bike or buggy

Only a computer working without human help, could design such a bad route.

As at Farnworth and with me in London, local knowledge is everything.

Sorting Out Manchester’s Routes

Northern Trains may have been thinking about passengers getting to the less busy stations.

They have introduced three new services that connect the West Coast Main Line and Greater Manchester.

  • Wigan North Western and Alderly Edge
  • Wigan North Western and Stalybridge
  • Chester and Leeds via Warrington Bank Quay, Manchester Victoria, Rochdale, Hebden Bridge, Halifax and Bradford.

The latter route is an interesting one, as not only does it offer some good journey possibilities, but it is a scenic route through the Pennines.

 

August 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 5 Comments

Northern Considering Options For More New Trains

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

This is a paragraph.

Senior Northern sources told RAIL on June 28 that the operator believes the new trains will entice more people onto its services, and that within two years – once all 101 new trains are in service – there could be overcrowding.

This sounds to me, like another case of London Overground Syndrome.

At least, Northern have identified it early and taken the only action that works – Acquire more trains.

The High Speed Train Problem

Several of Northern’s routes use 100 mph trains on the West Coast and East Coast Main Lines.

  • Blackpool and York
  • Chester and Leeds
  • Hull and York
  • Leeds and York
  • Liverpool and Blackpool via Wigan
  • Manchester and Crewe
  • Manchester and Stoke
  • Manchester Airport and Barrow
  • Manchester Airport and Blackpool
  • Manchester Airport and Windermere

Will Northern acquire some 110 mph or even 125 mph trains to ease the creation of timetables amongst so many high speed trains using the main lines?

Greater Anglia’s New Train Order

Greater Anglia have ordered thirty-eight Class 755 trains, which have a total of 138 cars.

These will replace twenty-six assorted trains, which have a total of 55 cars.

This is an increase of 46% in the number of trains and  150% in the number of cars.

Greater Anglia didn’t increase the fleet so that could sit in sidings, so I think we can expect some new services and higher frequencies.

Conclusion

Northern’s actions are in line with other operators.

July 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 3 Comments

Manchester Victoria To Chester

On Saturday, I went between Manchester Victoria and Chester on the new hourly Northern Connect service between Chester and Leeds.

Note.

  1. The train was a Class 158 train, with a Class 153 train acting as a capacity enhancer.
  2. The train was only doing 60 mph on the West Coast Main Line.
  3. The service was fairly busy.
  4. The route is electrified between Manchester Victoria and Warrington Bank Quay stations.

On this Saturday morning, it appeared to me that a better train is needed.

In Northern Connect Between Chester And Leeds To Start In May, I did report a rumour that Class 769 trains might be running between Chester and Leeds.

In my view Class 769 trains are ideal for the route between Chester and Leeds.

  • They are four-car trains.
  • They can do 100 mph, where electrification is available.
  • They are 90 mph trains on diesel.

There main problem, is not their age, but since they were proposed, train interiors have moved on. Passengers and train operating companies want more tables and comfortable seats. Even some refurbishments of forty-year-old trains have tables. In What Train Is This?, I described a high class refurbishment of a Class 150 train. Here’s a picture.

The Chester and Leeds route and probably many other routes in the UK need a train with the following characteristics.

  • 100 mph using either 25 KVAC overhead or 750 VDC third-rail electrification.
  • 100 mph on secondary power like diesel, battery or hydrogen.
  • two hundred mile range without refuelling.
  • Four or five cars.
  • Comfortable interior with tables, wi-fi, power points and everything else passengers want.

Train operating companies would probably like a 125 mph version.

Hitachi already have a train with this specification in the Class 800 train. In Hitachi Plans To Run ScotRail Class 385 EMUs Beyond The Wires, I detail, Hitachi’s plans for Class 385 trains. Could these be stretched to perhaps do 100 miles on batteries.

Bombardier are offering a High Speed Bi-Mode Aventra with batteries and Stadler are introducing the Class 755 train for Greater Anglia.

Conclusion

It looks to me, that Northern need to get themselves some new 100 mph hybrid trains. The diesels they have on order are so Twentieth Century and late!

June 3, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Comparing Class 195 And Class 769 Trains

This may seen a strange comparison to do.

  • In the blue corner is an upgraded forty-year-old four-car bi-mode Class 769 train from British Rail via Brush at Louthborough.
  • In the red corner is a new three-car diesel Class 195 train from CAF.

So how do they compare?

Seats

  • The Class 769 train shows 255 Standard Class and 12 First Seats in an example layout in the brochure.
  • The Class 195 train has 204 seats according to Wikipedia.

The seats per car in both trains are almost identical.

Diesel Power

  • The Class 769 train has two 390 kW diesel engines and electric transmission.
  • The Class 195 train has three 390 kW diesel engines and a ZF Ecolife six-speed transmission.

So it would appear that the Class 195 train is more powerful, but Class 769 train has an electric transmission, which doesn’t need to change gear.

I look forward to riding in both trains.

Operating Speed

  • The Class 769 train has a 100 mph operating speed on electricity and has been designed for 91 mph on diesel power.
  • The Class 195 train has a 100 mph operating speed.

The proof of the pudding will be in the timetables and journey times.

Conclusion

The two trains are fairly evenly matched for a lot of routes.

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment