The Anonymous Widower

How Will Abellio East Midlands Railway Maximise Capacity On The Midland Main Line?

In this post, I will try and get a feel to how Abellio East Midlands Railway, will maximise capacity on the Midland Main Line.

The Current Service

There are currently two trains per hour (tph) to both Nottingham and Sheffield and one tph to Corby from London.

Ignoring the Corby service, which will be using electric trains, intermediate calls have these frequencies, from South to North.

  • Bedford – One tph
  • Wellingborough – One tph
  • Kettering – One tph
  • Market Harborough – Two tph
  • Leicester – Four tph
  • Loughborough – Two tph
  • East Midlands Parkway – Two tph
  • Long Eaton – One tph
  • Beeston – One tph
  • Derby – Two tph
  • Chesterfield – Two tph

As the new bi-mode trains will be more modern, with probably shorter dwell times at each station, I suspect that when Abellio East Midlands Railway implement their ultimate timetable, there will be more stops, without degrading journey times.

These are fastest times.

  • London and Nottingham is one hour forty minutes
  • London and Sheffield is two hours

I feel that round trips to both destinations will be four hours with some speed increases and shorter station dwell times.

  • The current two tph to Nottingham and Sheffield needs eight trains to each destination.
  • This is a total of sixteen trains.

As each train could be two five-car trains working as a ten-car train, train numbers for the current service could be as high as thirty-two trains.

A first look seems to indicate that there .will be no overall increase in train frequency, although, as I said earlier, the performance of the new trains should allow extra station stops.

It also indicates to me, that any increases in frequency between London and Nottingham/Sheffield will need extra trains.

The Electrified High Speed Line South Of Kettering

Midland Main Line services South of Kettering are as follows.

  • Two tph to London and Nottingham
  • Two tph between London and Sheffield
  • One tph between London and Corby.

From December 2021, there will be two tph between London and Corby.

The maximum number of services between London and Kettering on the electrified section currently envisaged is only six tph or one train every ten minutes.

As the Class 700 trains on Thameslink are capable of using digital signalling and all the new trains will also be similarly equipped, I wouldn’t be surprised that the theoretical capacity of the electrified fast lines could be higher than the proposed six tph. |Especially, when digital signalling is installed.

The number of trains in the fleet, is much more of a limit on services, than the capacity of the Midland Main Line.

If all trains were ten cars, the following numbers of trains would be needed.

  • Current two tph – 32 trains
  • Increase to three tph – 48 trains
  • Increase to three tph – 64 trains

Are there enough passengers to fill all these trains?

Does St. Pancras Have Enough Capacity?

St. Pancras station has four platforms for Midland Main Line services.

  • The platforms are long enough to take two five-car Class 222 trains,.
  • They would surely accommodate a ten-car formation of the new Hitachi trains.
  • Each platform can probably handle three or four tph, giving a total capacity of 12-16 tph.

As four tph to Nottingham and Sheffield and two tph to Corby is only a total of ten tph, there is enough platform capacity for several years to come.

If there is a problem, it is that the large numbers of passengers would overwhelm the stairs and escalators between the ground level of the station and the platforms.

I am certain, that just like the Eurostar platforms at St. Pancras, the Midland Main Line platforms will need better passenger access and facilities.

Will it even be enough, when up to six tph, all of which could be 240 metres long, start to arrive in December 2021?

What could be done to help solve the capacity problem at St. Pancras station in the future?

Better Access To The Midland Main Line Platforms

Consider.

  • Space is limited to add extra escalators, lifts and places to wait
  • St. Pancras is a Grade I Listed Building.
  • As I don’t travel through the station in the Peak, the escalators seem to always be going the wrong way.

Improving the current access will be very difficult.

This Google Map shows the Northern End of the station.

Note.

  1. The Midland Main Line platforms are the two island platforms on the left.
  2. The Southeastern HighSpeed platforms are the two island platforms on the right.
  3. The Eurostar platforms are the three island platforms in the middle.

Could a second entrance to some of the platforms be built here?

It would be very difficult, unless the extension was future-proofed when it was built.

Underground Improvements

Getting between the Midland Main Line platforms and the Underground is an obstable course.

As a Londoner, who’s had the operation to have the Underground Map implanted in my brain, I generally go to the Midland Main Line platforms at St. Pancras by taking one of the following.

A bus from close to my house to outside the station.

  • A Metropolitan Line train from Moorgate
  • A Northern Line train from Angel.
  • A Piccadilly Line train from Manor House
  • A Victoria Line train from Highbury & Islington

The last four need a bus to get to the Underground.

I usually come back home, by spending just over a tenner on a black cab!

Crossrail 2

Crossrail 2 should improve matters, but will it ever be built?

Will The New Brent Cross Thameslink Station Allow Cross Platform Interchange Between Midland Main Line and Thameslink Services?

Consider.

  • The proposed Brent Cross Thameslink will be just North of Cricklewood station.
  • Midland Main Line services through the station would be six tph.
  • Thameslink services through the station would be fourteen tph
  • The West London Orbital Railway could be built to connect the station to High Speed Two and Heathrow

Would it take the pressure off St. Pancras?

It might do, if a cross-platform interchange could be arranged.

Could Some Midland Main Line Services Use Thameslink?

Consider.

  • The obvious service to go through Thameslink would be the two tph service between Corby and St. Pancras.
  • Thameslink is currently setup to handle 24 tph, but it has been designed for 30 tph.
  • The Corby service will stop at Kettering, Luton and Luton Airport Parkway, to the North of London.
  • It could perhaps terminate at the soon-to-be-rebuilt Gatwick Airport station in the South.

It might work!

Especially, if Kettering station were to be rebuilt to have cross-platform interchange between Corby sewrvices and the bi-mode ones going further North.

Splitting And Joining Trains

In Rock Rail Wins Again!, I gave this simple example of how the splitting and joining capability of Hitachi AT-300 trains can be used.

A ten-car train might leave St. Pancras as two five-car units running as a pair. It could split at East Midlands Parkway station and one train could go to Nottingham and the other to Derby. Coming South the two trains would join at East Midlands Parkway.

I feel that Derby, East Midlands Parkway and Leicester are ideal stations on the Midland Main Line, where services could be split and joined.

  • They have at least four platforms.
  • The platforms are long and straight.

The two terminals at Nottingham and Sheffield could also probably be used to enable services to serve more destinations.

Shorter trains must have advantages on some routes.

  • Capacity is better matched to demand.
  • Platforms may not need to be extended.
  • Services can be run by a driver and a conductor.

Will Abellio East Midlands Railway use splitting and joining to increase the coverage of their services?

Great Western Railway’s Class 800, 801 and 802 trains have the capability to split and join and the operator doesn’t seem to use it. Although, they do split and join Class 387 trains.

Extended Services To And From The North And East

The ability to split and join, that could be used to extend services to the North And East.

Serving Barnsley, South Yorkshire And Leeds

Consider.

I wonder if there are paths and need for a London and Sheffield service to split at Sheffield with, the two five-car trains going to different destinations.

  • Leeds via Rotherham, Barnsley Dearne Valley and Wakefield Westgate, is one possibility.
  • Could a service go to Huddersfield?
  • Hull is probably too far.

One tph could terminate at Sheffield and one splitting and one tph could split and serve other destinations.

Advantages could include.

  • Barnsley and Rotherham get a direct hourly service to London.
  • South Yorkshire and Leeds have a direct hourly service to the East Midlands.
  • Sheffield and Leeds have an hourly fast service.

I’m sure Abellio have a very workable plan to improve services North of Sheffield.

Serving Lincolnshire And Nottinghamshire

Consider.

  • Splitting and joining at Nottingham may allow an increase in direct services to and from Lincoln.
  • Perhaps parts of North Lincolnshire could be well-served by a fast train from Nottingham.
  • Would Mansfield and Worksop benefit from a direct service from London on the Robin Hood Line, after a reverse at Nottingham.

The five-car trains give the flexibility to do the previously unthinkable.

Conclusion

There is a lot of developments that can or will happen with Midland Main Line services.

August 1, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Could A 125 Mph Electric Train With Batteries Handle The Midland Main Line?

In Bombardier’s 125 Mph Electric Train With Batteries, I investigated a pure electric train based on Bombardier’s proposed 125 mph bi-mode Aventra with batteries.

It would have the following characteristics.

  • Electric power on both 25 KVAC overhead and 750 VDC third-rail.
  • Appropriately-sized batteries.
  • 125 mph running, where possible on electrification and/or battery power.
  • Regenerative braking using the batteries.
  • Low energy interiors and systems.

It would be a train with efficiency levels higher than any train seen before.

It would also be zero-carbon at the point of delivery.

An Example 125 mph Train

I will use the same size and specification of train, that I used in Bombardier’s 125 Mph Electric Train With Batteries.

  • The train is five cars, with say four motored cars.
  • The empty train weighs close to 180 tonnes.
  • There are 430 passengers, with an average weight of 90 Kg each, with baggage, bikes and buggies.
  • This gives a total train weight of 218.7 tonnes.
  • The train is travelling at 200 kph or 125 mph.

Travelling at 200 kph, the train has an energy of 94.9 kWh.

I will also assume.

  • The train uses 15 kWh per mile to maintain the required line speed and power the train’s systems.
  • Regenerative braking is eighty percent efficient.

I will now do a few calculations.

Kettering To Leicester

Suppose one of the proposed trains was running between St. Pancras and Leicester.

  • I’m assuming there are no stops.
  • In a year or two, it should be able to run as far as Kettering using the new and improved 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • The train would leave the electrification at Kettering with a full charge in the batteries.
  • The train would also pass Kettering as close to the line speed as possible.
  • Hopefully, the twenty-nine miles without electrification between Kettering and Leicester will have been updated to have the highest possible line speed, with many sections capable of supporting 125 mph running.

I can do a rough-and-ready calculation, as to how much energy has been expended between Kettering and Leicester.

  • Twenty-nine miles at 15 kWh per mile is 435 kWh.
  • The train has a kinetic energy of 94.9 kWh at 125 mph and twenty percent will be lost in stopping at Leicester, which is 19 kWh.

This means that a battery of at least 454 kWh will be needed to propel the train to Leicester.

Kettering To Sheffield

If the train went all the way without stopping between Kettering and Sheffield, the energy used would be much higher.

One hundred-and-one miles at 15 kWh is 1515 kWh.

So given that the train will be slowing and accelerating, we’re probably talking of a battery capacity of around 2000 kWh.

In our five-car example train, this is 400 kWh per car.

Kettering To Sheffield With Stops

The previous calculation shows what can be achieved, but we need a practical train service.

When I last went to Sheffield, the train stopped at Leicester, Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway, Long Eaton, Derby and Chesterfield.

I have built an Excel spreadsheet, that models this route and it shows that if the train has a battery capacity of 2,000 kWh, the train will get to Sheffield with 371 kWh left in the battery.

  • Increase the efficiency of the regenerative braking and the energy left is 425 kWh.
  • Reduce the train’s energy consumption to 12 kWh per mile and the energy left is 674 kWh.
  • Do both and the energy left is 728 kWh.

The message is clear; train manufacturers and their suppliers should use all efforts to improve the efficiencies of trains and all of their components.

  • Aerodynamics
  • \Weight savings
  • Bogie dynamics
  • Traction motors
  • Battery capacity and energy density
  • Low energy lighting and air-conditioning

No idea however wacky should be discarded.

Network Rail also has a part to play.

  • The track should have as a high a line speed as is practical.
  • Signalling and timetabling should be designed to minimise interactions with other services.

Adding all these together, I believe that in a few years, we could see a train, that will consume 10 kWh per mile and have a regenerative braking efficiency of ninety-five percent.

If this can be achieved then the train will have 960 kWh in the batteries when it arrives in Sheffield.

Sheffield To Kettering

There is no helpful stretch of electrification at the Sheffield end of the route, so I will assume that there is a method of charging the batteries at Sheffield.

Unsurprisingly, as the train is running the same total distance and making the same number of stops, if the train starts with a full battery at Sheffield, it arrives at Kettering with the same amount of energy in the battery, as on the Northbound-run to Sheffield.

An Interim Conclusion

I am led to the interim conclusion, that given the continued upward curve of technology and engineering, that it will be possible to run 125 mph electric trains with an appropriately-sized battery.

How Much Battery Capacity Can Be Installed In A Train?

In Issue 864 of Rail Magazine, there is an article entitled Scotland High Among Vivarail’s Targets for Class 230 D-Trains, where this is said.

Vivarail’s two-car battery units contains four 100 kWh lithium-ion battery rafts, each weighing 1.2 tonnes.

Consider.

  • Vivarail’s cars are 18.37 metres long.
  • Car length in a typical Aventra, like a Class 720 train, is 24 metres.
  • Aventras have been designed for batteries and supercapacitors, whereas the D78 trains, used as a base for the Class 230 train,were not.
  • Batteries and supercapacitors are getting better all the time.
  • Batteries and supercapacitors can probably be built to fit in unusually-shaped spaces.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Aventras being able to take double the capacity of a Class 230 train under each car.

I wouldn’t rule out 2,000 kWh energy storage capacity on a five-car train, that was designed for batteries.

The actual size installed would depend on operator, weight, performance and cost.

My Excel spreadsheet shows that for reliable operation between Kettering and Sheffield, a battery of at least 1200 kWh is needed, with a very efficient train.

Charging Trains En-Route

I covered en-route charging fully in Charging Battery/Electric Trains En-Route.

I came to this conclusion.

I believe it is possible to design a charging system using proven third-rail technology and batteries or supercapacitors to transfer at least 200 kWh into a train’s batteries at each stop.

This means that a substantial top up can be given to the train’s batteries at stations equipped with a fast charging system.

An Astonishing Set Of Results

I use astonishing lightly, but I am very surprised.

I assumed the following.

  • The train uses 15 kWh per mile to maintain the required line speed and power the train’s systems.
  • Regenerative braking is eighty percent efficient.
  • The train is fitted with 600 kWh of energy storage.
  • At each of the six stations up to 200 kWh of energy can be transferred to the train.

Going North the train arrives in Sheffield with 171 kWh in the energy storage.

Going South the train arrives at Kettering with 61 kWh in the energy storage.

Probably a bit tight for safety, but surprising nevertheless.

I then tried with the following.

  • The train uses 12 kWh per mile to maintain the required line speed and power the train’s systems.
  • Regenerative braking is ninety percent efficient.
  • The train is fitted with 500 kWh of energy storage.
  • At each of the six stations up to 200 kWh of energy can be transferred to the train.

Going North the train arrives in Sheffield with 258 kWh in the energy storage.

Going South the train arrives at Kettering with 114 kWh in the energy storage.

It would appear that increasing the efficiency of the train gives a lot of the improvement.

Finally, I put everything, at what I feel are the most efficient settings.

  • The train uses 10 kWh per mile to maintain the required line speed and power the train’s systems.
  • Regenerative braking is ninety-five percent efficient.
  • The train is fitted with 500 kWh of energy storage.
  • At each of the six stations up to 200 kWh of energy can be transferred to the train.

Going North the train arrives in Sheffield with 325 kWh in the energy storage.

Going South the train arrives at Kettering with 210 kWh in the energy storage.

These sets of figures prove to me, that it is possible to design a 125 mph battery/electric hybrid train and a set of charging stations, that will make St. Pancras to Sheffield by electric train, a viable possibility without any more electrification.

Should The Train Be Fitted With A Means Of Charging The Batteries?

Why not?

Wires do go down and rest assured, a couple of battery/electric hybrids would get stuck!

So a small diesel or hydrogen generator to allow a train to limp a few miles might not be a bad idea.

Electrification Between Sheffield And Clay Cross On The Midland Main Line

In The UK’s New High Speed Line Being Built By Stealth, there is a sub-section with the same title as this sub-section.

This is the first part of that sub-section.

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Grayling Asks HS2 To Prepare For Electrification Of 25km Midland Main Line Route.

If this electrification happens on the Midland Main Line between Sheffield and Clay Cross, it will be another project in turning the line into a high speed route with a 200 kph operating speed, between London and Sheffield.

Currently, the electrified section of the line South of Bedford is being upgraded and the electrification and quadruple tracks are being extended to Glendon Junction, where the branch to Corby leaves the main line.

The proposed electrification will probably involve the following.

  • Upgrading the line to a higher speed of perhaps 225 kph, with provision to increase the speed of the line further.
  • Rebuilding of Chesterfield station in readiness for High Speed Two.
  • Full electrification between Sheffield and Clay Cross.

Clay Cross is significant, as it is where the Midland Main Line splits into two Southbound routes.

Note.

  1. Some of the tunnel portals in the Derwent Valley are Listed.
  2. Trying to electrify the line through the World Heritage Site will be a legal and engineering nightmare.
  3. Network Rail has spent or is spending £250million on upgrading the Erewash Valley Line.
  4. High Speed Two will reach The East Midlands Hub station in 2032.

When High Speed Two, is extended North from the East Midlands Hub station, it will take a route roughly following the M1. A spur will link High Speed Two to the Erewash Valley line in the Clay Cross area, to enable services to Chesterfield and Sheffield.

But until High Speed Two is built North of the East Midlands Hub station, the Erewash Valley Line looks from my helicopter to be capable of supporting 200 kph services.

If this electrification is performed, it will transform the prospects for battery/electric hybrid trains between London and Sheffield.

  • Trains will have to run fifteen miles less on battery power.
  • Trains will arrive in both St. Pancras and Sheffield with batteries that are at least three-quarters full.
  • Returning the trains will fill them up on the electrification at the end of the line.
  • There will probably not be a need for charging systems at St. Pancras, Chesterfield and Sheffield.

I also think, that as the train could arrive in Sheffield with a full battery, there is the possibility of extending services past Sheffield to Barnsley, Huddersfield and cLeeds, if the operator felt it was a worthwhile service.

Nottingham

Nottingham is just eight miles from East Midlands Parkway station, which is less distance than Derby.

So if the battery/electric hybrid trains can reach Derby from Kettering on Battery power, with some help from charging at Leicester and Loughborough, the trains can reach Nottingham, where charging would be installed.

Conclusion

From my calculations, I’m sure that an efficient battery/electric hybrid train can handle all current services on the Midland Main Line, with third-rail charging at intermediate stations.

I do think though, that if Sheffield to Clay Cross Junction is electrified in preparation for High Speed Two, that it makes the design easier and the economics a lot better.

It would also give Sheffield a genuine sub-two hour service to London, which would only get better.

 

 

November 1, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Direct Trains Between Liverpool Lime Street And Norwich

In my wanderings around the UK, I very often come across this service and use it for short trips between two major towns or cities many miles from both Liverpool and Norwich.

The Current Service

Currently, the service is run by East Midlands Trains and is usually a two-car Class 158 train. Although, I have seen the service worked by a pair of these trains.

The route is very comprehensive with calls at Liverpool South Parkway, Widnes, Warrington Central, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Piccadilly, Stockport, Sheffield, Chesterfield, Alfreton, Ilkeston, Nottingham, Grantham, Peterborough, Ely and Thetford.

The service always seems to be full and I suspect that in addition to offering useful routes like Manchester-Sheffield, Liverpool-Nottingham and Nottingham-East Anglia, it is often a convenient route for some long distance business and family travellers.

The major problem for a train operator is that it needs a lot of rolling stock to provide a service.

Liverpool to Norwich takes five and a half hours, so to provide the hourly service probably needs as many as a dozen trains.

This extract comes from the East Midlands Trains section in Wikipedia entry for the Class 158 train.

The hourly Norwich to Liverpool service has been criticised for overcrowding, especially between Liverpool and Nottingham. This resulted from the Department for Transport specifying two-coach units in the EMT franchise starting in November 2007. In the light of persistent and excessive overcrowding, with some passengers being left behind on occasions, the DfT eventually admitted that it had made a mistake. Various cascades of other units enabled more Class 158 stock to be released for this route, and from the December 2011 timetable change the busiest services have been lengthened to four-coach trains between Liverpool and Nottingham, with units splitting and joining at Nottingham as necessary, two-coach trains being regarded as adequate between Nottingham and Norwich. Further services on this route were strengthened from December 2012.

Running a pair of Class 158 trains on the route between Liverpool and Nottingham, does seem to ease problems there, but I’ve encountered bad over-crowding at the Eastern end too.

Improvements On The Route

Several improvements or changes of rolling stock have or are taking place in the next few years.

Increased Capacity At Liverpool Lime Street

This is detailed in the 2017-2018 Station Remodelling section of the Wikipedia entry for Liverpool Lime Street station.

  • Two new platforms are being added.
  • Platforms are being lengthened.

In addition there are improvements on the approaches to the station.

Ordsall Chord And Related Improvements In Manchester

The Liverpool-Norwich service calls at both Manchester Oxford Road and Manchester Piccadilly stations, although it doesn’t use the new Ordsall Chord.

But I can’t believe that the Liverpool-Norwich service won’t be affected by all the works in Manchester.

Hope Valley Line Improvements

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Long-Awaited Hope Valley Line Plans Given The Green Light.

Improvements to the Hope Valley Line between Manchester and Sheffield include.

  • A loop to allow passenger trains to overtake slow freight trains.
  • Removal of a foot crossing.
  • Improvements around Dore and Totley station.

This is said on this document on the Transport for the North web site, which announces the Hope Valley improvements.

The new passing loops will mean three fast trains can run per hour between Sheffield and Manchester, one every 20 minutes, freight and stopping trains every hour, and a fast Manchester-Nottingham and East of England service every hour.

If nothing else, the extra capacity between Manchester and Sheffield, will reduce reliance on the Liverpool-Norwich service.

Improvements To The Midland Main Line

The Midland Main Line is not being electrified between Nottingham and Sheffield, but other improvements have taken place over the last few years.

  • In particular, the Erewash Valley Line has been improved and a new station at Ilkeston has been added.
  • The Liverpool-Norwich service calls at stations on this by-pass.
  • The line has been resignalled.

Would a train with a 125 mph capability, as opposed to the 90 mph operating speed of the Class 158 train, allow a faster service?

East Coast Main Line Running

The 90 mph Class 158 trains must present pathing problems on the East Coast Main Line, whereas a 125 mph train could mix it easier with the high speed trains.

Greater Anglia’s Plans

Greater Anglia have ordered a fleet of Class 755 trains.

  • The trains are bi-mode.
  • The trains have a 100 mph operating speed.
  • Greater Anglia have ordered fourteen three-car and twenty-four four-car trains.

Greater Anglia will be replacing 27 diesel trains, that consists of  58 carriages, with 38 bi-mode trains, that consist of 138 carriages.

  • There are forty percent more trains.
  • There are a hundred and thirty-eight percent more carriages.
  • Average train length of the diesels is 2.1 carriages, wheres that of the bi-modes is 3.6.

There are two possible reasons for these large number of trains.

  • Abellio have decided to buy a few bi-modes for their other franchises.
  • There is going to be a massive expansion of train services in East Anglia.

Two of the new bi-mode services interact with the Liverpool-Norwich service.

  • Colchester to Peterborough via Ipswich, Bury St. Edmunds and Ely
  • Norwich to Stansted Airport  via Ely and Cambridge.

Both services are thought to be hourly.

Consider the Colchester to Peterborough service.

  • I estimate that trains will take around two hours.
  • The round trip could be under five hours, even with a generous turn-round at both ends and perhaps a wait at Ipswich.
  • The waits would allow connecting passengers to join the train.
  • A five hour round trip would need five Class 755 trains.
  • I would choose four-car trains, as the route can get crowded.

Could the Colchester to Peterborough service be considered as an extension of the Liverpool-Norwich service, that serves Bury St. Edmunds, Ipswich and Colchester?

I think it could if the trains were timed appropriately.

  • Passengers from Liverpool to Ipswich, would change at Peterborough or Ely to the Peterborough to Colchester train, which would arrive a few minutes after the Liverpool to Norwich train.
  • Passengers from Ipswich to Liverpool, would change at Ely or Peterborough to the Liverpool train, which would arrive a few minutes after Colchester to Peterborough train.

Hopefully, the change would not require a platform change.

Consider the Norwich to Stansted Airport service.

  • I estimate trains will take about one hour and fifty minutes.
  • The round trip would be four hours and would need four Class 755 trains.
  • I would choose four-car trains, as the route can get crowded.

Could the Norwich to Stansted Airport service be equally spaced with the Liverpool-Norwich service between Ely and Norwich  to give a clock-face two trains per hour (tph)?

These services call at Ely

  • CrossCountry -Birmingham to Stansted Airport
  • East Midlands Trains – Liverpool to Norwich
  • Greater Anglia – Peterborough to Colchester
  • Greater Anglia – Norwich to Stansted Airport
  • Great Northern – Kings Lynn to Kings Cross

Totalling them up gives the following frequencies to various stations.

  • Bury St. Edmunds/Ipswich/Colchester – 1 tph
  • Cambridge North/Cambridge – 3 tph
  • Kings Lynn – 1 tph
  • Norwich – 2 tph
  • Peterborough – 3 tph
  • Stansted Airport – 2 tph

I suspect that the services will be arranged so there are convenient interchanges. No-one wants to spend an hour on a draughty Ely station waiting for the next train.

I also suspect that Greater Anglia  will use some of their extra trains to improve connectivity at Ely.

Speed Limits On The Route

Speed limits on the route are rather variable.

  • Liverpool to Manchester via Warrington is limited to 85 mph
  • The Hope Valley Line between Manchester and Sheffield is 90 mph
  • The proportion of the Midland Main Line, where 125 mph running is possible, is being increased.
  • Grantham to Peterborough on the East Coast Main Line allows 125 mph running.
  • The Peterborough to Ely Line is limited to 75 mph.
  • The Breckland Line between Ely and Norwich is limited to 75- 90 mph.

I feel that increasing speed limits on some parts of the line would help the Liverpool to Norwich service.

But surely, a train with a 125 mph-capability would help with journey times and train timetabling between Sheffield and Peterborough.

But on the rest of the route, trains with this speed capability, wouldn’t be needed.

Rolling Stock Choices For Liverpool Lime Street And Norwich

Various choices include.

Class 158 Trains

Everything could carry on as now using Class 158 trains

  • Two two-car trains working ass a pair would go from Liverpool Lime Street to Nottingham.
  • The trains would divide at Nottingham.
  • One train would go on its way to Norwich, and the other would wait at Nottingham to join with the train returning from Norwich.

With all the new diesel multiple units arriving in the next few years, I think it is likely that more Class 158 trains could be made available to strengthen the service.

The trouble with the Class 158 trains, is that with only a 90 mph operating speed, they can’t take advantage of the sections of the route where 125 mph running is possible.

Class 170 Trains

These trains were built as successors to the Class 158 trains.

  • They are more modern.
  • They are 10 mph faster.
  • Most  are three cars.

But they are still not fast enough for the 125 mph sections of the route.

A Second Service Between Liverpool And Nottingham

Improvements on the Hope Valley Line and in Liverpool and Manchester, might make it possible to run a much-needed second service between Liverpool and Nottingham via Manchester, Stockport and Sheffield..

This extra service could use the same trains as the full service.

Currently, the direct service between Liverpool Lime Street and Nottingham takes two hours thirty five minutes. In some ways, this is a problem, as if the timing was say two hours twenty minutes, a five hour round trip would be possible.

This would mean that the second service would need just five trains.

I doubt that Class 158 trains could meet this schedule, so more would be needed.

Class 800 Trains

Class 800 trains are 125 mph bi-mode trains, but are they fast enough on diesel to make real differences to the timetable by running fast on the Midland Main Line?

I think not!

So more trains would be needed to run the service.

Bombardier’s Proposed 125 mph Bi-Mode

A genuine 125-mph bi-mode, with that performance on both electricity and diesel, would be a totally different matter.

  • Timings between Liverpool and Nottingham would drop to perhaps two hours twenty, thus allowing a five hour round trip.
  • Timings between Liverpool and Norwich would drop to perhaps four hours fifty, thus allowing a ten hour round trip.

Even so a full service would require fifteen trains.

Bombardier have proposed a train of this type and I wrote about it in Bombardier Bi-Mode Aventra To Feature Battery Power.

In my view, this small exercise shows why some routes in the UK need a 125 mph bi-mode.

If the train can’t do 125 mph, where it is possible on the Midland and East Coast Main Line, the time savings on the route won’t be possible and more trains will be needed to run the service.

One great advantage is that the trains working this route could be the same as those working the main routes of the East Midlands franchise to and from London.

Short Formation InterCity 125 Trains

The forty-year-old InterCity 125 trains have the power and the speed to match the 125 mph bi-mode trains.

Short formation with four or five passenger cars between the two Class 43 locomotives are being used by Scotrail and Great Western Railway, but to use them on Liverpool to Norwich would require another fifteen trains to be updated, which is probably not as cost effective as new 125 mph bi-modes.

Conclusion

If service between the Liverpool Lime Street and Norwich is to continue in its present form, it needs 125 mph bi-more trains.

 

 

 

 

April 29, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nottinghamshire MPs Pressing Government For Robin Hood Line Rail Extension

The title of this post is the same as that as an article on Notts TV.

This is an extract.

Besides the six mile-plus extension from Warsop to Ollerton, the plan would involve re-opening existing stations in Warsop, and Edwinstowe and building a new station in Ollerton.

The existing line is operated on a franchise held by East Midlands Trains, which is due for renewal in the coming months.

A Department for Transport spokesman said the extension is being consulted on as part of the franchise renewal, with a decision expected next month.

I have always liked this rail project and linking it to the new franchise will surely push it up the list of new projects.

It is actually, a low-cost project, as the track  already exists and is regularly used by both Network Rail and East Midlands Trains for test purposes and to train drivers.

I have flown my virtual helicopter over the route and between the Robin Hood Line and Ollerton, there is a lot of double-track with the Eastern end single track, Part of the line is the High Marnham Test Track. The track-bed would appear to lead all the way to Lincoln.

It appears to be that the major costs would be.

  • Replacing the track.
  • Adding new signalling to replace the previous system destroyed by vandals.
  • Building three new stations.
  • Finding a few extra trains.

Surely, some good engineers and designers could turn this at an affordable cost into a worthwhile and well-used passenger rail line between Mansfield and Ollerton.

The New Fanchise And Rolling Stock

East Midlands Trains’ current fleet is diesel-only and includes the following units from the last century.

Many routes are run by inadequate trains and with the East Midlands franchise up for renewal, there is likely to be a reorganisation of rolling stock.

All recent new franchise awards have involved fleets of new trains and I doubt this one will be any different.

HS2

Although HS2 doesn’t arrive at East Midlands Hub station at Toton until 2032, I feel that the over the next few years, rail lines in the Nottingham and |Derby areas will be developed to make this new station a focus.

In After The Robin Hood Line Will Nottingham See The Maid Marian Line?, I discussed possible rail development between Toton and Mansfield based on this article in the Nottingham Post.

Conclusion

What the planners decide about HS2 will decide whether the Robin Hood Line is extended to Ollerton.

Development of Lincoln to Toton as a 90 mph route, with proportions of 100 mph running, would certain transform the area.

 

 

September 10, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

By Rail Between Derby And Manchester via Stoke

In his article entitled Connecting The Powerhouses in the June 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, Colin Boocock, says that the best rail route between Derby and Manchester, is to go via Stoke.

There is one train an hour that takes one hour 44 minutes with a change at Stoke. The two legs appear to take 51 and 42 minutes respectively with an eleven minute wait at Stoke station, which is a well-equipped Virgin station.

Change the destination to Manchester Airport and there is an extra change of train and a journey which is at least half-an-hour longer.

You can actually do Derby to Manchester Airport in a couple of minutes over two hours, if you go via Sheffield.

But it does seem a bit crazy, as Manchester Airport is actually eight miles closer to Derby if you drive.

Stoke is well connected to Manchester with up to four trains per hour to Manchester Piccadilly, some of which take just forty minutes. Manchester Airport takes just over the hour with a change at Crewe or Manchester Piccadilly.

The Crewe to Derby Line links Derby and Stoke via Uttoxeter.

This description of the route comes from this section in Wikipedia.

The route is double track for all of its length except for a three-mile section between Alsager and Crewe, which was singled by British Rail. Whilst the majority of the route is not electrified, the section between Stoke Junction and Crewe is as this is a part of the West Coast Main Line.

This means that it should be possible to run electric trains between Manchester Airport and Stoke. As there would be no chnge at Crewe using best times on Stoke-Crewe and Crewe-Manchester Airport giives a time of about fifty minutes.

The route between Stoke and Derby is not electrified and the operating speed of the line is given as 70 mph.

Surely, as it connects Derby and Nottingham to Stoke and the electrified West Coast Main Line, it should have a faster operating speed. In an ideal world, Derby to Stoke must be a prime candidate for electrification. Some of London Overground’s redundant 100 mph Class 317 trains could probably do Derby to Stoke in perhaps thirty-five minutes.

So with electrification all the way, a time of about one hour twenty -five minutes between Derby and Stoke would be possible in a train, that once graced the Stansted Express. So it’s even got luggage racks.

But Derby to Stoke won’t be electrified for years, so could the current service get passengers to Stoke?

There is a section called Services in the Wikipedia entry for the Crewe-Stoke Line. This is said.

The line sees a basic hourly service in each direction with trains calling at all stations on the route however Peartree which is served by 2 Derby bound trains and 3 Crewe bound trains per weekday.

The majority of services on the route since December 2008 have been provided by Class 153 “Super Sprinter” Diesel Multiple Units however Class 158 “Express Sprinter” and Class 156 “Super Sprinter” units are occasionally used. Overcrowding remains a major issue on the route, particularly in the morning and evening peak and a weekends. Passengers are occasionally left behind.

That is a truly pitiful service, as the main rail route from Derby to Manchester is run by a single-coach Class 153 train at times.

It’s amazing anybody trusts the line enough to use it.

As with the Derwent Valley Line, which I wrote about in Exploring The Derwent Valley Line, the problem is probably down to a shortage of suitable trains.

The line needs a suitable bi-mode train.

  • At least four-cars.
  • Airport interior with  luggage racks.
  • Possibly a First Class compartment.
  • Ability to do the forty miles between Stoke and Nottingham on diesel.

A Flex version of a Class 317 train would do nicely and could probably do Nottingham to Manchester Airport in two hours. This would mean.

  • Four trains could provide an hourly service.
  • Eight trains would provide a two trains per hour service.

Would you believe that London Overground will release the eight Class 317/7 trains with the Airport interior next year, when they are replaced by new Class 710 trains?

Conclusion

The more I do little exercises like this, the more I believe that Porterbrook’s Flex concept is not only high-class engineering, but it is a idea, that has arrived at exactly the right time.

The only problem with converting Class 317 trains, is they are owned by Angel Trains! I’m sure that that is not an insurmountable problem!

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Ilkeston Station Opens

I went to the new Ilkeston station this morning and took these pictures.

It is not the most sophisticated of stations and it is worth comparing the design with Lea Bridge station.

This picture is from A Look At Lea Bridge Station, which shows the station in detail.

 

Alongside Lea Bridge Station

 

Comparing Ilkeston and Lea Bridge stations, there are similarities and differences.

  • Both stations are built adjacent to existing road bridges.
  • Both road bridges have some good brickwork and a utilitarian span over the railway.
  • Both stations have two platforms on the outside of a double-track main line.
  • Both stations don’t have ticket barriers.
  • Lea Bridge has lifts and Ilkeston has long ramps for step-free access.
  • Lea Bridge is fitted with comprehensive CCTV for Driver Only Operation (DOO). Ilkeston is not!
  • Ilkeston has car parking and Lea Bridge has none.

Both stations cost around ten million pounds, with perhaps Lea Bridge slightly more because of the lifts and DOO cameras.

My Overall View

I think that Ilkeston station is a job well-done by the architect to keep costs to a minimum for a well-functioning station, that meets all current and future regulations.

These are more details on various features.

The Station Entrance

One of my gripes with Lea Bridge station, is that when I use that station, I take a bus to it, which drops me just before the road bridge over the station. I then have to walk past the station footbridge, with no possible access and in a great circle to get to the station entrance at the side.

At Ilkeston, those walking to the station by the side of the road that crosses the bridge, just walk over the station footbridge, from which they walk down to their chosen platform.

This is a much better arrangement and will surely suggest to passers-by, that using the train isn’t a hassle.

When I went to Ilkeston, some months ago, I remember that the area between the Town Centre had what developers call potential and perhaps could be turned into a green walking and cycling route.

This Google Map shows the relationship between the town and the station.

It certainly isn’t as desolate as the Town Centre was on my last visit. There’s even a Marks and Spencer’s Simply Food store in a retail park, just a couple of hundred metres from the station.

I made a mistake in not exploring that way today, as it looked not to be finished.

I shall return!

Car Parking

The car parks are on both sides of the tracks, which is good for the able-bodied passengers, as if space allows they can park where is best for their personal circumstances.

My one worry about the car parking, is that 150 spaces might not be enough.

On the other hand car ownership is low in the Erewash Valley! So perhaps they expect a lot of passengers to walk to the station.

Access To The Platforms

At present, the landscaping is not finished on the Nottingham-bound side (Platformk 2) of the station and I suspect the walking route to the platform will be improved.

But supposing you are a passenger with a touch of arthritis and failing eyesight. Whatever side you park your car, you will have to negotiate both  long ramps to cross the tracks, when you catch a train out of Ilkeston or on your return.

But saying that several London Overground stations near me use long ramps and there doesn’t appear to be too many protests.

Lifts would of course be better. But a lot more costly!

Picking Up And Dropping Off Passengers

The drop-off/pick-up point is by the Chesterfield-bound Platform 1, but I suspect that when the station is completed, drivers will be able to do the drop-off/pick-up in the car park by Platform 2.

Taxi Rank

The taxi rank is  by the Chesterfield-bound Platform 1, so passengers arriving on Platform 2 will have to cross the tracks on the footbridge.

I did talk to a taxi driver called Paul Kitchener,  who is one half of a taxi company called Paul and Jackie Taxi. I was able to find them on Fscebook, so if you have special needs for a taxi and you don’t live in Ilkeston, you could always contact them first.

Shelters and Ticket Machines

As expected a shelter is provided on both platforms, but perhaps more surprisingly, there is a ticket machine on both platforms as well.

Thjs duplication of ticket machines is to be welcomed, as is placing them in an obvious place on the platform.

The Germans make their ticket machines very easy to find, which is not often the policy of some of our train operators.

Two ticket machines by stairs to the footbridge, which pedestrians will use as access to the station, is an idea, that might result in more revenue for the train operator.

Bike And Motor-Cycle Parking

I didn’t see much, although there were a few hoops outside Platform 1

Coffee Kiosks

A guy from London Overground, told me that if you have a coffee kiosk on the platform, it may attract more passengers.

The platforms at Ilkeston might not be quite big enough for a kiosk, but I’m certain the architect has ideas.

Future Proofing

There have been troubles recently, where stations have been built without enough clearance for future electrification.

Without getting out a measure, it appears that the two existing road bridges and the new foot-bridge at Ilkeston, may have enough clearance to satisfy the most nit-picking of inspectors. The bridge that could be dodgy is the rusty road bridge and that would not be the most difficult bridge to replace with a new one.

Perhaps, as it has not been given a coat of paint, the new bridges are being constructed, as I write.

The design of the station, would also allow the following.

  • Two fast lines through the station, between Platform 2 and the boundary fence, where there is already an avoiding line.
  • The possibility of putting a second face on Platform 2, so that a bay platform or a platform on a fast line could be created.
  • The addition of lifts.

I also suspect that the platforms are long enough for a Class 222 train to call.

A Good Local Reaction

One of the staff told me that he reckoned about five hundred people had come to have a look at the new station, which he felt was more than expected.

Several, that I spoke to seemed enthusiastic.

One couple, I spoke to, said forty-eight pounds each was a lot to get see their daughter and her family. But yet again, they hadn’t heard of the Two Together Railcard. They felt thirty-two pounds was a lot more reasonable.

Services

Current services through the station are an hourly train between Leeds and Nottingham via Sheffield and a two-hourly service between Liverpool and Nottingham via Manchester.

This gives an impressive list of destinations from Ilkeston, that includes Barnsley, Chesterfield, Ely (for Cambridge), Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Norwich, Nottingham and Sheffield.

But what is missing are connections to Birmingham, Derby, London and Mansfield.

London will be solved in the future, when passengers by their journey hsbits put sufficient pressure on the train operator.

A solution for Derby and Mansfield was proposed in this article in the Nottingham Post which is entitled Hopes HS2 could see ‘Maid Marian Line’ opened to passengers.

There is a freight-only line between Kirkby-in-Ashfield station on the Robin Hood Line and Pye Bridge on the Erewash Valley Line, on which Ilkeston is situated.

The proposal would allow trains to go between Kirkby-in-Ashfield via Pinxton and Selston to Langley Mill and Ilkeston and then on to Toton for HS2.

From there services could go on to Nottingham or Derby and also give access to the Nottingham Express Transit at Toton.

In my view, the ideal service would be Mansfield to Derby via Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Langley Mill, Ilkeston, Toton (when built), Long Eaton and Spondon.

At Derby, there is also up to four trains per hour to Birmingham.

Conclusion

This is a fine station, which has been built at a keen price, which with more services will be a big asset to Ilkeston.

 

April 2, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Plans For East Midlands Hub Station For HS2 Are Beginning To Emerge

East Midlands Hub (Toton) station depending on who’s writing the words is beginning to emerge from HS2’s plans. (I shall use Toton HS2 in this post, to emphasise I mean the HS2 station.) Wikipedia says this about the station.

It is intended to be located on the existing railway sidings in Toton, situated between Nottingham and Derby. A connection to the Nottingham tram system and new connections to existing rail services are proposed, to link the station to Nottingham, Derby and Leicester railway stations. The station would be located adjacent to the M1 motorway in Nottinghamshire, close to the border with Derbyshire.

This Google Map shows the location.

toton

The red arrow marks Toton Lane Tram Stop, which is a Psrk-and-Ride terminus of the Nottingham Express Transit. Between the tram stop and the M1, the Erewash Valley Line passes through in a North-South alignment. South of the East-West A52 is the site of Toton Sidings, which is proposed for the new Toton HS2 station.

I think that HS2 have made a good start in the planning of the connections at this station.

Link To Nottingham Express Transit

Extension of route 1 to serve HS2 at Toton and Derby is a section in the Wikipedia entry for the Nottingham Express Transit.

This is said.

News that a station for the proposed HS2 line (the East Midlands Hub) is likely to be built on the site of Toton sidings, only a short distance from the Toton Lane terminus has fuelled speculation that the line could be extended to the new station. In November 2015 there was a proposal for the tram network to be extended from Toton to Derby. Two routes were later proposed by the D2N2 local enterprise partnership for the route to Derby. The first route would be via the A52 while the second would be via Borrowash and Spondon.

This is not a cheapskate extension to connect Nottingham to HS2, but a proper solution, that creates a high-capacity link running from Nottingham to Derby via the new Toton HS2 station.

  • The A52 is the East-West road connecting Derby and Nottingham, which is clearly shown on the Google Map.
  • Borrowash is a village at the Western edge of the Google Map, with Spondon, which has a station on the Midland Main Line to Derby, just off the map to the West.

I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of extending the trams from Toton HS2 using tram-trains to go via Long Eaton and Spondon to Derby.

  • Tram-trains could use existing track between Toton HS2 and Derby, provided it was electrified.
  • Daul-voltage tram-trains would be needed to work on main line and tramway electrification.
  • Journey time from Derby to Toton HS2 could be around 20 minutes.
  • Network Rail’s plan to move Long Eaton station should make this easier.
  • A high frequency service could be run.
  • Extra stops could be introduced.
  • There are tram-train versions of the Alstom Citadis trams used in Nottingham.

Tram-trains would need 25 KVAC electrification along the route between Toton HS2 and Derby stations. But surely the Midland Main Line electrification will have got to these two stations by 2026 or so!

Nottingham To Derby Via Toton HS2

Nottingham and Derby are two very different cities, but both are successful in their own ways.

Currently, there are about three direct trains per hour (tph) between the two cities.

  • Birmingham-Coventry has 7 tph
  • Birmingham-Wolverhampton has 9 tph and the Midland Metro.
  • Manchester-Leeds has 8 tph
  • Leeds-Bradord has 6 tph

Nottingham and Derby get a very raw deal and working on the London Overground/Merseyrail principle of Turn-Up-And-Go , Derby and Nottingham need a four tph connecting service to give passengers something that is acceptable.

As with Birmingham-Woverhampton, a mix of heavy rail, tram and perhaps tram-train might give the two cities the service to Toton HS2 and between themselves, that they need.

Bssed on good practice in London, Birmingham and Liverpool, I would provide the following minimum service.

  • 4 tph – Express heavy rail stopping at Beeston, Toton HS2, Long Easton and Spondon.
  • 4 tph – Tram-train stopping everywhere between Hucknall and Derby via Beeston, Toton HS2, Long Eaton and Spondon.
  • 3 tph – Extra long distance trains calling at both, which would probably also stop at Toton HS2.

It would be a darn site better than what is currently provided.

A Notts/Derbys Crossrail

There might even be a case for a Newark to Burton-on-Trent service via Nottingham, Toton HS2, Long Eaton and Derby. It would be Notts/Derbys version of Crossrail, feeding passengers from all over the area to HS2.

Nottingham City Centre To London In Under 90 Minutes

Currently Nottingham to London takes one hour forty minutes by the fastest trains. But after HS2 opens, it would take 30 minutes from Nottingham to Toton HS and the 52 minutes by HS2 to London.

So even if the classic service to St. Pancras gets faster and more frequent, will passengers opt for the quicker HS2 from Toton HS2?

If say Toton HS2 to London was four tph and run on almost a Turn-Up-And-Go basis, and the connections to Derby and Nottingham were upwards of six tph, the classic trains will have to work hard to maintain market share.

Derby to London wouldn’t show the same improvement as Nottingham to London, but the service could be more frequent and probably well under ninety ,minutes.

The big winners would be the passengers from the Far West of Derby to the Far East of Nottingham.

Using The Erewash Valley Line

Network Rail is improving the Erewash Valley Line. Under Future  is a section in the Wikipedia entry for the line.

This is said.

Network Rail as part of a £250 million investment in the regions railways has proposed improvements to the junctions at each end, resignalling throughout, and a new East Midlands Control Centre.

As well as renewing the signalling, three junctions at Trowell, Ironville and Codnor Park will be redesigned and rebuilt. Since the existing Midland Main Line from Derby through the Derwent Valley has a number of tunnels and cuttings which are listed buildings and it is a World Heritage Area, it seems that the Erewash line is ripe for expansion.

It would seem that Network Rail are creating a 125 mph-plus line between East Midlands Parkway and Chesterfield stations. Is this part of a pragmatic philosophy to improve services from London to Chesterfield and Sheffield.

  • Derby to Chesterfield along the Derwent Valley will not be electrified because of heritage and engineering reasons.
  • Derby to Sheffield via Chesterfield will be served by bi-mode or other independently-powered trains.
  • The Erewash Valley Line will be electrified and could even be cleared to allow 140 mph running.
  • London to Sheffield trains would go via East Midlands Parkway, Long Eaton, Toton HS2 and Chesterfield.

Even if HS2 isn’t built, Chesterfield and Sheffield would get a vastly improved service to London.

When HS2 is built to Toton HS2,  HS2 can take advantage of the Erewash Valley Line to create faster services to the North.

Extending HS2 To Sheffield

If HS2 can get to Toton HS2 in 52 minutes, surely this could mean a London-Sheffield time of well under two hours once the Erewash Valley Line is electrified, even if passengers had to change trains.

But I think we know enough about the dynamics of High Speed Trains, that can run at 225 mph on High Speed Lines to get them to run at 125 or even 140 mph on high standard main lines, like the Midland Main Line.

After HS2 opens to Toton HS2, Chesterfield and Sheffield would get a better service from London in three ways.

  • Direct from London on the Midland Main Line.
  • By HS2 with a change at Toton HS2 to a classic service.
  • By HS2 direct.

All services would use the electrified Erewash Valley Line to get to Chesterfield.

It should be noted that from 2020, London-Norwich will be on a frequency of 3 tph. Surely, the much larger Sheffield needs 4 tph to and from London.

Using The Robin Hood Line

The Robin Hood Line goes between Nottingham in the South to Mansfield Woodhouse and Worksop in the North.

  • It is an underdeveloped line with diesel multiple units running to a frequency of 2 tph.
  • The Southern end of the line connects to the tracks through Toton HS2, so it wouldn’t be difficult to use the new station as an additional terminus for the Robin Hood Line.
  • At the Northern end, there is scope to develop new branches.

I can envisage Nottingham developing the Robin Hood Line into a suburban network feeding passengers to both the City Centre and Toton HS2.

Extending HS2 to North Nottinghamshire And Lincoln

In  After The Robin Hood Line Will Nottingham See The Maid Marian Line?, I wrote about an article in the Nottingham Post is entitled Hopes HS2 could see ‘Maid Marian Line’ opened to passengers.

There is a freight only line, that if reopened to passenger traffic would allow trains to connect from Toton HS2, through Ilkeston and Langley Mill to North Nottinghamshire and all the way across Lincolnshire to Lincoln, thus giving a large area direct access to HS2.

Lincoln to London would be under two hours with a change at Toton HS2.

Will All Sorts Of Towns And Cities Get The Benefit Of Direct HS2 Trains?

I have mentioned a lot of stations at various town and cities in this post.

To take Langley Mill station as an example, currently this gets at least one fast train a day to and from St. Pancras.

When the new HS2 trains are running between London, Chesterfield and Sheffield via Toton HS2, will they do the same thing?

If they do, then stations like Ilkeston, Langley Mill and Alfreton could get a direct HS2 service to and from Birmingham and London.

One of the things to note, is that the new trains will be much faster at stopping and getting on their way again, than the current generation of trains, so adding stops between Toton HS and Sheffield. won’t delay the service like it does today.

As I said earlier, I believe there could be a similar connecting service from Toton HS2 to Lincoln, calling at Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Mansfield, Gainsborough, Lincoln and Cleethorpes.

The train to Lincoln would probably be a short five can train and it would couple and uncouple with a similar train at Toton for the express journey South.

Other destinations from Toton HS, might include Doncaster, Doncaster Airport and Hull.

It’s one thing for a short train to trundle round Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire at 100 mph, but when on HS2, you probably need two trains coupled together to maximise the use of a limited number of train paths.

Connections could also be created using slower trains! But they wouldn’t be so sexy!

A New City At Toton

The Sunday Times has an article this week, which was entitled Next Arrival On The HS2 Line: A Brand New City.

It is an interesting proposition.

  • There’s certainly space between Derby and Nottingham.
  • Birmingham will be 19 minutes away by HS2.
  • London will be within the hour.
  • The M1 will pass right through the city.

But above all we need more housing.

Conclusion

The HS2 station at East Midlands Hub or Toton HS2, is a lot more than a HS2 station for Nottingham and Derby.

I would do the following.

  • Electrify to Sheffield on the Erewash Valley Line and between Derby and Nottingham.
  • Extend the Nottingham Express Transit to Derby via Toton HS2 using tram-train technology.
  • Run a 4 tph express local service between Derby and Nottingham via Toton HS2.
  • Make sure that HS2  reaches Toton HS2 as soon as possible.
  • Build the new city at Toton.

Surely because the Nottingham-Derby area has a lot to gain from HS2, it would probably be very beneficial for HS2’s revenue.

 

 

 

February 13, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Robin Hood Line In Nottingham

This Google Map shows the Southern end of the Robin Hood Line as it connects to Nottingham station.

southrobinhood

Note the triangular junction towards the bottom of the map.

  • The line to the East goes into Nottingham station.
  • The line to the West goes to Beeston and eventually to London. In a few years time, it will go to the East Midland Hub station for HS2.
  • The line to the North is the Robin Hood Line and the Erewash Valley Line.

The \Erewash Valley Line splits to the West, from the Robin Hood Line just off the top of the map to the North of Nottingham University’s Jubilee Campus.

It is worth looking at services that go between these two branches and Nottingham station.

Langley Mill station on the Erewash Valley Line has the following services.

  • One train per hour (tph) between Nottingham and Leeds.
  • A few trains per day between Liverpool and Nottingham.
  • Some trains between Sheffield and London stop.

Passengers though are expected to take the infrequent service to Nottingham for onward trains.

On the 2nd of April, Ilkeston station will open on the Erewash Valley Line between Nottingham and Langley Mill.

Hucknall station on the Robin Hood Line has two hourly services.

Plans also exist for a branch to Ollerton, so this might change the service pattern. But there is no more than a total of four or five trains per hour in both directions.

All of these services go round the North-East chord of the junction and thus connect Nottingham University’s Jubilee Campus and  Nottingham station

But there are no stations along this line, although there used to be one at Radford.

In A Look At New Station Projects, I came across references to stations at Faraday Road and Lenton.

Both locations are on this section of line and it would seem logical that the more Northerly location would be ideal to serve the Jubilee Campus.

If only the local trains stopped, it would have the following services.

  • 1-2 tph to Ilkeston, Langley Mill and Alfreton
  • 2 tph to Hucknall, Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Mansfield
  • 3-4 tph to Nottingham.

Other questions and issues are raised.

  • Would a second station to the South nearer to the triangular junction be worthwhile?
  • Could the Nottingham Express Transit. have an interchange with the trains the Robin Hood Line?
  • Could the Nottingham Express Transit call both campuses of the University of Nottingham?
  • In future could 1-2 tph go to the HS2 station at East Midland Hub?

It does appear that there is scope for improving connectivity in the Western Part of the City Centre.

 

February 7, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thoughts On Midland Main Line Electrification

I have been thinking about how the method of electrifying the Midland Main Line might change if the Aventra IPEMU was available.

These are thoughts in no particular order.

The Battery High Speed Train

An Aventra uses a modern version of the same bogies that are used in the Class 222 trains, which are capable of 200 kph. As the Class 387 train, which is a version of the Electrostar, can travel at 110 mph, I wouldn’t rule out that the more modern Aventra could run at 200 kph or 125 mph.

Acceleration on batteries would be the problem, not maintaining a high speed. that had been built up whilst running under the wires.

Also, when the train comes to the end of its northward journey at say Corby, it has to brake. With regenerative braking on the Aventra IPEMU, all of this energy would go back into the batteries.

So does this mean that no charging would need to be provided at say Corby?

I’m not totally sure of the mathematics and physics, but I’m certain that a battery electric train with regenerative braking, would put a significant part of the electricity it would need to accelerate away from a station, into the batteries as it stopped.

This would mean that stops at Wellingborough and Kettering would not stop Corby services from reaching their destination.

St. Pancras to Corby

I estimate that the distance from the end of the electrification at Bedford and Corby station is about thirty five miles.

This would mean that this route out of St.Pancras could be covered by an Aventra IPEMU.

Would this release a Class 222 train for use elsewhere? Or would the Aventra IPEMUs enable East Midlands Trains to offer more capacity or an increased frequency on this service?

St. Pancras to Leicester

I estimate that the distance from the end of the electrification at Bedford and Leicester station is about fifty miles.

This would mean that this route out of St.Pancras to Leicester could be covered by an Aventra IPEMU, especially if it were possible to recharge the train at Leicester, using the sort of short electrification, I wrote about at Rugeley Trent Valley station in Up And Down The Chase Line.

Leicester has problems as a station, as this extract from Wikipedia says.

Train operators using the station include CrossCountry and East Midlands Trains. Due to a 15 mph maximum speed to the south of the station, all passenger trains stop at the station. Up until the winter 2008 timetable, the morning southbound The Master Cutler express from Leeds to London St Pancras was an exception although this now also calls.

Leicester is a bottleneck station as it has only four platforms. All platforms are well utilised, especially platforms two and three which receive freight as well as passenger trains. A freight loop goes to the east of the station alongside the carriage sidings which run adjacent to platform four.

This Google Map of the station shows the platforms and the freight loop.

Leicester Station

Leicester Station

It does look that there would be space to expand the station and from this section in Wikipedia, I’m sure Network Rail are working on an upgrade to the area to address all the problems.

It would appear to be stating the obvious to say, that Leicester station must be sorted first before any electrification in the area.

An extra bay platform would probably allow Aventra IPEMUs to run an electrified service to St. Pancras, if East Midlands Trains felt this was needed. Because of the regenerating braking of the train, it might not be necessary to provide a means of charging the trains at Leicester.

Creating A High Speed Route To Chesterfield and Sheffield

A few years ago, much of the Erewash Valley Line was upgraded ready for electrification and high speed running. On the Future of this line, Wikipedia says this.

Network Rail as part of a £250 million investment in the regions railways has proposed improvements to the junctions at each end, resignalling throughout, and a new East Midlands Control Centre.

As well as renewing the signalling, three junctions at Trowell, Ironville and Codnor Park will be redesigned and rebuilt. Since the existing Midland Main Line from Derby through the Derwent Valley has a number of tunnels and cuttings which are listed buildings and it is a World Heritage Area, it seems that the Erewash line is ripe for expansion. As the new signalling is rolled out, train detection is moving away from the traditional Track circuit detection of trains to Axle counting.

So could we see all of the very fastest services from St. Pancras to Chesterfield and Sheffield using this route?

Is the route from Trent Junction in the South to Chesterfield and Sheffield in the North ready for electrification?

Network Rail must ensure that as much of the line is capable of 125 mph running and that all bridges and tunnels have sufficient clearance from London to Sheffield via Chesterfield.

Creeping The Electrification North

From Bedford the electrification would be crept north at a sensible pace, which would be designed to cause minimum disruption to services.

Every mile it went north would increase the reach of the new electric trains, but only after the bottleneck of Leicester was eased to allow high speed running through the station.

The Electric Spine

If the Electric Spine was to be implemented in full from Southampton to Sheffield and Doncaster, then the electrification must be completed North of Bedford.

But as there are a lot of places where the electrification will not be completed elsewhere, will we see a shift towards electro-diesel freight locomotives like the Class 88.

So although freight would take advantage of an electrified Midland Main Line, it may not be as important as many think.

Completing The Electrified Routes to Sheffield, Nottingham and Derby

These three important cities all have extensive local rail networks, that could benefit from an electrified hub, so that Aventra IPEMUs could be used to bring benefits to all the communities served by diesel multiple units and in Sheffield’s case, quite a few Pacers.

So as a minimum, this electrification must be completed.

  • East Midlands Parkway to Derby
  • East Midlands Parkway to Nottingham
  • East Midlands Parkway to Chesterfield and Sheffield via the Erewash Valley Line.

Chesterfield to Derby would probably be filed in the Too Difficult box, but would be an easy run for an Aventra IPEMU.

Note that I would start the electrification from East Midlands Parkway, as this station and the Airport are talked about as destinations for tram-train services.

Obviously to complete the Electric Spine, the following electrification would also need to be done.

  • Complete the electrification between Bedford and East Midlands Parkway.
  • Sheffield to Doncaster.

But once Sheffield station is electrified none of the many local lines reaching out from the city would need to be electrified, as most services could be run using Aventra IPEMUs. Obviously, if there was a special reason like freight or tram-trains, this wiring would only help the Aventra IPEMUs.

New Elecric Services

Once electrification has been installed up the Erewash Valley Line to Sheffield, lots of important places become within range of Aventra IPEMUs running from St. Pancras.

  • Barnsley
  • Bradford
  • Huddersfield
  • Leeds
  • Manchester

It would also mean that several existing cross-country services could be run using electric trains.

  • Liverpool to Norwich
  • Nottingham to Cardiff
  • Bristol to Newcastle

Remarkable in some ways as a lot of electrification has been dropped.

September 28, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

From Nottingham To Peterborough

I took an East Midlands Trains service to Norwich to get to Peterborough. I wanted to look at the Allington Chord. Wikipedia says this about the chord under its entry for the East Coast Main Line.

The Allington Chord was constructed near Grantham in 2006, allowing services between Nottingham and Skegness to call at Grantham without having to use the ECML, trains now passing under the line. This provided sufficient extra capacity for 12 additional services between Leeds and London each day.

This certainly illustrates the improvements gained, when these crossings of the East Coast Main Line are sorted. Could similar improvements be gained when the Newark Crossing is eliminated.

I took these pictures on the journey.

My problems then started as I reported here in The Curse of the Coeliac Traveller.

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment