The Anonymous Widower

Do Network Rail Have A Cunning Plan To Run Battery Electric Trains To Wigan Wallgate And Blackburn?

This news story, which is entitled £72 million Boost For Train Services In Manchester And The North, was released by the government today.

This is the sub-heading.

This package will improve the passenger experience by having more reliable trains and fewer delays.

These two paragraphs describe the work.

The funding will deliver a third platform at Salford Crescent station and track improvement work across north Manchester to help reduce delays, bottlenecks and station overcrowding, meaning passengers will enjoy more comfortable and reliable journeys.

Manchester Victoria Station will also benefit from extra entry and exit points to platforms, making it easier for passengers to travel through the station during busier periods.

These are my thoughts.

Battery-Electric Trains

New Merseyrail Train Runs 135km On Battery says a lot about the capabilities of modern battery-electric multiple units.

135 km is 84 miles and if you look at services in the Wigan and Blackburn area, these are the services, currently run by diesel trains on lines without electrification.

  • Blackburn and Bolton – 13.9 miles
  • Blackburn and Manchester Victoria – 39.4 miles
  • Hindley and Salford Crescent – 16.2 miles
  • Southport and Wigan Wallgate – 17.4 miles
  • Kirkby and Wigan Wallgate – 12 miles
  • Clitheroe and Bolton – 23.7 miles
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Buxton – 19 miles

I believe that a modern battery-electric train would be able to handle all these routes, with assistance from regenerative braking and Newton’s friend.

I also believe that CAF, Hitachi, Siemens and Stadler would be capable of building a battery-electric train for these routes.

This OpenRailwayMap shows the electrification between Wigan and Lostock Junction.


  1. Wigan is in the South-West corner of the map.
  2. Lostock Junction is in the North-East corner of the map.
  3. The black and red line between Wigan and Lostock Junction indicates the track is being electrified with 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  4. The black line going East to the South-East corner of the map is the unelectrified line to Salford Crescent via Atherton.
  5. At Lostock Junction the line joins the electrified Manchester and Preston Line via Bolton.

Network Rail’s layout means that trains to Kirkby, Southport and Salford Crescent via Atherton can all charge their batteries in a convenient station before embarking to their destination without electrification.

The Third Platform At Salford Crescent Station

Three platforms at Salford Crescent will give capacity advantages.

But it will also mean, that if all battery-electric trains for Wigan Wallgate via Atherton can have a dedicated platform, that if necessary, they can use to top up the batteries.

Northern’s Trans-Pennine Services

Northern Trains run four hourly trains across the Pennines.

  • York and Blackpool North via Church Fenton, Garforth, Leeds, New Pudsey, Bradford Interchange, Halifax, Sowerby Bridge, Hebden Bridge, Burnley Manchester Road, Accrington, Blackburn, Preston, Kirkham & Wesham and Poulton-le-Fylde.
  • Leeds and Manchester Victoria via Bramley, New Pudsey, Bradford Interchange, Halifax, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden and Rochdale.
  • Leeds and Wigan Wallgate via Morley, Batley, Dewsbury, Ravensthorpe, Mirfield, Brighouse, Sowerby Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, Walsden, Littleborough, Smithy Bridge, Rochdale, Manchester Victoria, Salford Central, Salford Crescent, Swinton, Moorside, Walkden, Atherton, Hag Fold, Daisy Hill, Hindley and Ince.
  • Leeds and Chester via Bramley, New Pudsey, Bradford Interchange, Low Moor, Halifax, Sowerby Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, Rochdale, Manchester Victoria, Newton-le-Willows, Earlestown and Warrington Bank Quay.


  1. All routes are partly electrified.
  2. Hebden Bridge gets four trains per hour (tph).
  3. Bradford Interchange, Halifax, New Pudsey Rochdale, Sowerby Bridge, Todmorden and Manchester Victoria get three tph.
  4. It is a comprehensive set of routes serving nearly fifty stations in the North.

Stretches of line without electrification include.

  • Chester and Earlstown – 23 miles
  • Leeds and Manchester Victoria – 49.8 miles
  • Leeds and Blackburn – 50.2 miles
  • Hindley and Salford Crescent – 16.2 miles

There may be a need to electrify Blackburn and Preston or some other short sections.


I have a feeling that most of the diesel services in Manchester could be replaced by battery-electric trains.


May 25, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plan To Develop New ‘Southern Gateway’ Through Station In City Centre

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in the Bradford Telgraph and Argus.

This is the sub-heading.

Work to develop a new city centre rail station in Bradford could soon be back on the rails, despite the Government cancelling the local Northern Powerhouse Rail line

These are the first two paragraphs.

It has today been announced that the UK Infrastructure Bank will be working with Bradford Council to plan and develop a proposed “Southern Gateway” station in the city centre.

Although few details have been announced so far, the station is expected to be a through station, and is likely to be on the site off Wakefield Road currently occupied by St James’ Wholesale Market.

This sounds like an updating with finance of a plan I wrote about in Bradford Seeks Support On Rail Project Which Could Deliver £30bn Benefits.

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the rail lines in the Bradford area.


New Pudsey station is in the North-East corner of the map.

Bradford Foster Square and Bradford Interchange stations are in the North-West corner of the map.

Low Moor station is in the South-West corner of the map.

This second OpenRailwayMap shows an enlargement of the lines across Bradford.


Bradford Interchange station is in the North-West corner of the map.

The railway lines are shown in yellow.

New Pudsey station is off the map to the East and on the way to Leeds.

Some trains between Leeds and Bradford are routed via New Pudsey station and the loop in this map.

The railway between New Pudsey and Bradford Interchange stations goes under a roundabout on the Wakefield Road.

This Google Map shows St. James Wholesale Market and the railway to the North-East of the roundabout.


  1. St. James Wholesale Market is marked by the red arrow.
  2. The railway between New Pudsey and Bradford Interchange stations goes under the roundabout at the bottom of the map.

There’s certainly a lot of space to the East of the market. Could the new station be built with a lot of adjacent open space like King’s Cross and Liverpool Lime Street.

These are further thoughts.

Will There Be A New Chord South Of Bradford Interchange Station?

This section is an edited version of a section from Bradford Seeks Support On Rail Project Which Could Deliver £30bn Benefits.

This Google Map, shows Mill Lane Junction, where the lines from New Pudsey and Bradford Low Moor stations join South of Bradford Interchange station.


  1. Bradford Interchange station is on the rail line to the North.
  2. The proposed new Bradford station and the existing New Pudsey station are on the rail line to the East.
  3. Bradford Low Moor station is on the rail line to the South.

It would appear that an extra chord should be added to the junction to allow trains between Manchester Victoria and Leeds running via the Calder Valley Line to call at the new station in Bradford.

Current trains between Manchester Victoria and Leeds using this route have to reverse at Bradford Interchange. The new station and the extra chord would avoid this.

Will Bradford Interchange Station Be Closed?

That is a big question and depends on the overall plan.

I await the full plan with interest.

But building the new chord, closing Interchange station and avoiding the reverse will speed up services.

What Trains Will Call At The New Station?

Currently, only these trains from Northern, go through the station site.

  • Hull and Halifax
  • Leeds and Chester
  • Leeds and Manchester Victoria
  • York and Blackpool North


  1. All have a frequency of one train per hour (tph)
  2. All currently reverse at Bradford Interchange.
  3. All call at Leeds, New Pudsey and Halifax.
  4. Three tph call at Bramley and Hebden Bridge.
  5. Two tph call at Manchester Victoria, Rochdale and Todmorden.
  6. One tph calls at Low Moor.

I suspect these service could be augmented to perhaps give the following.

Four tph to Hebden Bridge, Rochdale and Manchester Victoria.

The only other trains passing though the area are Grand Central’s four trains per day (tpd) between London King’s Cross and Bradford Interchange via Low Moor.

  • If these trains terminated in a bay platform at the new station, would this enable their frequency to be increased?
  • Or could the services be extended to Leeds?

The new station certainly opens up possibilities.



May 17, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Adding Rose Hill Marple And Manchester Piccadilly To The Bee Network

This article on the Railway Gazette has a list of the lines, that will be transferred between Northern Rail and the Bee Network.

Included in the list is this line.

Rose Hill Marple And Manchester Piccadilly

I think this route would be the following.

  • The Eastern terminus would be Rose Hill Marple.
  • The Western terminus would be Manchester Piccadilly.
  • Intermediate stations would be Romiley. Woodley, Hyde Central, Hyde North, Guide Bridge, Fairfield and Gorton.
  • The route is partially-electrified with 25 KVAC overhead between Hyde North and Manchester Piccadilly.
  • Most of the route has a range of operating speeds, up to 90 mph.
  • The distance is 13.3 miles
  • Trains take 34 minutes
  • Trains are often two-car Class 156 trains.

The route is the same as the current Northern Trains service.

This is my thought.


This route is a classic for battery-electric trains, as only 6.8 miles at the Marple end is not electrified.

Merseyrail’s Class 777 trains or something similar would surely do nicely.

There would be no need for charging at the Marple end.


March 31, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment