The Anonymous Widower

Should The Great Northern And Great Eastern Joint Line Be Electrified?

The Great Northern And Great Eastern Joint Line was created in the Nineteenth Century by the Great Northern Railway and the Great Eastern Railway.

  • The main purpose was to move freight like coal, agricultural products and manufactured goods between Yorkshire and Eastern England.
  • It originally ran between Doncaster and Huntington via Gainsborough, Lincoln, Sleaford, Spalding and March.
  • It had a full length of almost 123 miles.
  • There was a large marshalling yard at Whitemoor near March.

Over the years the line has been pruned a bit and now effectively runs between Doncaster and Peterborough.

  • Trains between Lincoln and March are now routed via Peterborough.
  • It carries upwards of twenty freight trains per day in both directions through Lincoln Central station.
  • Many of the freight trains are going to and from the East Coast ports.
  • The distance between Doncaster and Peterborough is 93.7 miles, as opposed to the 79.6 miles on the East Coast Main Line.
  • The line is not electrified, but it connects to the electrified East Coast Main Line at both ends.

There have been some important developments in recent years.

2015 Freight Upgrade

Wikipedia says this about the major 2015 freight upgrade.

In 2015 a £280 million upgrade of the Joint Line by Network Rail was substantially complete, enabling two freight trains per hour to be diverted from the congested East Coast Main Line; gauge enhancements to enable the passage of 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m) containers were included in the work.

The Sleaford avoiding line had been substantially downgraded since the 1980s and was reinstated to double track as part of the 2015 scheme. Resignalling and modernisation of level crossings was included.

This means that freight trains have an alternative route, that avoids the East Coast Main Line.

Doncaster iPort

Over the last few years the Doncaster iPort has been developed, which is an intermodal rail terminal.

  • It has a size of around 800 acres.
  • The site opened in early 2018.
  • There is a daily train to the Port of Southampton and two daily trains to both Teesport and Felixstowe.
  • The Felixstowe trains would appear to use the Joint Line.

I feel that as the site develops, the Doncaster iPort will generate more traffic on the Joint Line.

This Google Map shows the Doncaster iPort.

There would appear to be plenty of space for expansion.

The Werrington Dive Under

The Werrington Dive Under has been built at a cost of £ 200 million, to remove a bottleneck at the Southern end of the Joint Line, where it connects to the East Coast Main Line.

The Werrington Dive Under was built, so that it could be electrified in the future.

LNER To Lincolnshire

LNER appear to have made a success of a one train per two hours (tp2h) service between London King’s Cross and Lincoln station.

  • LNER have stated, that they want to serve Grimsby and Cleethorpes in the North of the county.
  • North Lincolnshire is becoming important in supporting the wind energy industry in the North Sea.
  • Lincoln is becoming an important university city.
  • Several towns in Lincolnshire probably need a service to Peterborough and London.
  • In 2019, the Port of Grimsby & Immingham was the largest port in the United Kingdom by tonnage.

I can see an expanded Lincolnshire service from LNER.

Full Digital Signalling Of The East Coast Main Line To The South Of Doncaster

This is happening now and it will have a collateral benefits for the Joint Line.

Most passenger and freight trains will also use the East Coast Main Line, if only for a few miles, which will mean they will need to be fitted for the digital signalling.

This could mean that extending full digital signalling to Lincolnshire will not be a challenging project.

Arguments For Electrification

These are possible arguments for electrification.

Electric Freight Trains To And From The North

It would be another stretch of line, that could accommodate electric freight trains.

An Electrified Diversion Route For East Coast Main Line Expresses

Currently, when there is engineering blockades between Doncaster and Peterborough on the East Coast Main Line, the Hitachi Class 800 and Class 802 trains of Hull Trains and LNER are able to divert using their diesel power.

But the electric trains of LNER and Lumo have to be cancelled.

An electrified diversion route would be welcomed by passengers and train companies.

It would also mean that any trains running from King’s Cross to electrified destinations would not to have any diesel engines.

An Electrified Spine Through Lincolnshire

If there was an electrified spine between Doncaster and Peterborough via Gainsborough, Lincoln, Sleaford and Spalding, these stations would be these distances from the spine.

  • Boston – 16.8 miles
  • Cleethorpes – 47.2 miles
  • Grimsby Town – 43.9 miles
  • Market Rasen – 14.8 miles
  • Skegness – 40.7 miles

Note.

  1. These distances are all possible with battery-electric trains.
  2. Charging would be on the electrified spine and at Skegness and Cleethorpes stations.

All of South Lincolnshire and services to Doncaster would use electric trains.

London Services

London services would be via Spalding and join the East Coast Main Line at Werrington.

  • Boston and Skegness would be served from Sleaford, where the train would reverse.
  • Market Rasen, Grimsby Town and Cleethorpes would be served from Lincoln, where the train would reverse.

This would enable Cleethorpes and Skegness to have at least four trains per day to and from London King’s Cross.

North Lincolnshire Services

There are two train services in North Lincolnshire.

Cleethorpes and Barton-on-Humber.

Cleethorpes and Manchester Airport via Grimsby Town, Scunthorpe, Doncaster, Sheffield and Manchester Piccadilly.

Note.

  1. Cleethorpes would need to have a charger or a few miles of electrification, to charge a train from London.
  2. Doncaster, which is fully electrified is 52.1 miles from Cleethorpes.
  3. Barton-on-Humber is 22.8 miles from Cleethorpes.

Battery-electric trains should be able to handle both services.

Arguments Against Electrification

The only possible arguments against electrification are the disruption that the installation might cause and the unsightly nature of overhead gantries.

Conclusion

The Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Line should be electrified.

 

 

 

 

February 15, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Flirt Akku And Class 755 Train Compared

This article on Focus Transport is entitled 224-kilometre Battery Range For FLIRT Akku – Stadler Sets World Record For Guinness Book Of Records.

These facts about the record run are given.

  • The route was from from Berlin to Warnemünde.
  • It appears to have been independently verified.
  • The distance was 224 kilometres or 139 miles.
  • This distance is more than London to Great Yarmouth via Norwich.
  • It is reported that the temperature was around zero, which is not very battery-friendly.

No mention was made in the article of the number of passengers on board or the average speed.

Various articles have stated that the Flirt Akku is a three-car train, but I was not sure, if it included a PowerPack car like the Class 755 train.

So I flew my virtual drone over the route and got this picture.

Compare the front end with this picture of a Class 755 train at Lowestoft.

And the side view with this diagram of the trains, that I clipped from Wikipedia.

I can come to these conclusions.

  • The two front ends are very different, although the basic layout of doors and windows appears the same.
  • The Akku seems to have a flatter side.
  • The Akku lacks the PowerPack of the British train.

It also looks like the Greater Anglia train has better step-free access between between train and platform. But then you never seem to find good step-free access on German trains.

Some extra information and thoughts .

Testing The Flirt Akku

This article on Railvolution is entitled FLIRT AKKU Research Project Completed.

The article comprehensively described the testing process  and gave more details of the train.

  • The train was running at 140 kph or 87 mph.
  • This speed is available from the catenary or battery.
  • Battery charging takes twenty minutes.
  • The train seats 154 passengers in a 2 + 2 configuration.

The train appears to be roughly the same size and performance as a three-car Class 755 train.

Range On A Battery-Electric Class 755 Train

The battery range needed on various Greater Anglia routes are as follows.

Ipswich and Cambridge – 41.3 miles

  • Ipswich and Felixstowe – 15.6 miles
  • Ipswich and Lowestoft – 48.9 miles
  • Ipswich and Peterborough – 71.2 miles
  • Norwich and Great Yarmouth – 18.3 miles
  • Norwich and Lowestoft – 23.5 miles
  • Norwich and Sheringham – 30 miles
  • Norwich and Stansted Airport – 53.7 miles
  • Marks Tey and Sudbury – 11.8 miles

Note.

  1. Cambridge, Ely, Ipswich, Norwich and Peterborough are stations with full electrification.
  2. I suspect some services will need charging at the remote station.

It looks like to handle all routes will need a train with a range of around 80 miles or around 129 kilometres.

Conclusion

I don’t think that it would be impossible for Stadler to create a battery-electric Class 755 train with enough range.

December 24, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Rail Minister Officially Opens Werrington Tunnel

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

Werrington Tunnel, an underground freight tunnel running beneath the East Coast Main Line near Peterborough, has been formally opened by Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris.

A key step in the £1.2bn East Coast upgrade, the opening of the tunnel allows for freight services to be ran underneath the main rail artery, significantly improving passenger service reliability on the East Coast Main Line.

I also think, that the tunnel will be used creatively by passenger and freight operators.

Electrification

There is a possibility that the Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Line (GNGE) between Werrington and Doncaster via Lincoln could be electrified.

  • It would allow the many freight trains using the route to be hauled by electric locomotives.
  • It would create a by-pass for the East Coast Main Line during engineering works, that could be used as a diversion route by electric trains.
  • Werrington and Lincoln are just over fifty miles and might be handled by battery-electric trains, if the GNGE were to be partially electrified.

According to one report, the Werrington Tunnel has been readied for electrification, should that be decided.

An Improved Peterborough And Lincoln Service

In the past, I have travelled between London and Lincoln with a change at Peterborough. In one case, I just missed my connection, as it was a long crowded walk between the two platforms.

The Werrington Tunnel will enable trains to and from Lincoln to use platforms on the West side of Peterborough station.

Train times and platform allocations could be arranged to make connections at Peterborough easier.

A London And Lincoln Service Via Spalding And Sleaford

There are two possible routes between London King’s Cross and Lincoln

  • The current LNER service leaves the East Coast Main Line at Newark.
  • An alternative route  would leave the East Coast Main Line at Peterborough and be routed via the Werrington Tunnel, Spalding and Sleaford.

These notes apply to the alternative route.

  1. The Lincoln service wouldn’t call at Grantham and Newark.
  2. Some services could also call at other stations.
  3. The current hourly Peterborough and Lincoln service via Spalding is run by a Class 153 train , which stops four times and takes fourteen minutes longer than LNER’s service via Newark.
  4. An easy connection to and from Skegness could be arranged at Spalding,

LNER also plans to extend some Lincoln services to Grimsby Town and Cleethorpes. Timings will dictate which will be the better route.

The Werrington Tunnel would add a large degree of flexibility in routing services between London King’s Cross and Lincoln and Lincolnshire.

Splitting And Joining At Peterborough

If the Werrington Tunnel makes Lincoln timings via Spalding and Sleaford viable, I wonder if it would be possible for trains to split and join at Peterborough.

  • One train would go to Lincoln via the Werrington Tunnel, Spalding and Sleaford.
  • The other might go North to Bradford, Hull, Middlesbrough, Scarborough or York.

The Werrington Tunnel again adds flexibility.

A Round-The-Wash Service Between Doncaster And Ipswich/Norwich

In Is There A Case For A Round-The-Wash Service Between Doncaster And Ipswich/Norwich?, I suggested this service, which would be an hourly Doncaster and Cambridge service via Scunthorpe, Grimsby Town Cleethorpes, Lincoln, Sleaford, Spalding, Werrington Tunnel and Peterborough that would alternatively extend to Ipswich or Norwich.

The Werrington Tunnel again opens up possibilities.

Conclusion

I’m sure that the Werrington Tunnel and the technology that built it will be imitated elsewhere.

 

 

December 9, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Werrington Dive-Under – 8th September 2021

I had gone to Peterborough to take pictures of the Werrington Dive Under, from a train between Peterborough and Spalding.

I took these pictures going Peterborough and Spalding.

My train between Peterborough and Spalding stations took the following route.

  • The Class 158 train was a great improvement on the Class 153 train, I took in From Peterborough To Lincoln in 2015.
  • It started in Platform 1b at Peterborough station.
  • It then crossed over to the Down Fast line to go North.
  • Finally, it slowed to cross the Up Fast and Up Slow lines to go towards Spalding.
  • It is surely not an efficient and the safest way to run a railway.

Think about turning right on a busy dual carriageway, by going through a gap in the central reservation.

This diagram shows the new track layout of Werrington Junction.

Note.

  1. My train was going North on Line 5, so it had to use the two crossovers to get to the lines to Spalding.
  2. The Up Stamford (Line 4) can be seen in the pictures after the two lines have disappeared into the dive-under.

It’s a pity the first of my pictures aren’t better, but the sun was in the wrong direction.

I took these pictures going Spalding and Peterborough.

Note.

  1. The train used the Up Slow (line 7) to go between Werrington Junction and Peterborough station.
  2. The last two pictures show the Class 158 train in Platform 1b at Peterborough station.

At least this time, the train didn’t cross the Fast lines.

Will Passenger Trains Use The Werrington Dive-Under?

I’m very sure they will!

  • On the Western side of Peterborough station, there are four platforms 4 to 7 and an avoiding line for freight trains going North.
  • It appears that all of these lines can access the Down Stamford (Line 1) and Up Stamford (Line 4) to go to Werrington Junction.
  • At Werrington Junction, trains either take the route to Stamford or use the dive-under for Spalding.

It looks to me, that if the trains to and from Spalding terminated in one of the Western platforms, then they could use the Stamford Lines to access the dive-under and they wouldn’t cross the Fast Lines of the East Coast Main Line on the flat.

Greengauge 21’s Suggestion, That Thameslink Be Extended To Spalding

In the study by Greengauge 21, which is entitled Connecting East Lincolnshire, this is said.

As noted the Spalding-Peterborough line should be a strong candidate for electrification because of its freight potential, and if so it could also accommodate an extension of Thameslink services from London and the South East to Spalding where interchange would be made with a Spalding–Boston–Louth–Grimsby express bus using the A16.

This proposal may be possible, if instead of using the dive-under, the Thameslink trains were able to use the Up Slow (line 7) to go both ways between Werrington Junction and Peterborough station.

As in the near future, full digital signalling will apply through Peterborough, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Electrification Of The Werrington Dive-Under?

Consider.

  • There is a gap of around ninety miles in the freight route between the comprehensive electrification at Peterborough and Doncaster stations on the Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Line (GNGE).
  • There are dozens of level crossings.
  • The route goes through the centre of Lincoln, where there are two level crossings.

There are two ways of decarbonising the route.

  • Full electrification
  • Using hydrogen-powered freight locomotives.

Both solutions have their proposers and opponents.

I favour hydrogen-electric hybrid locomotives, that can use electrification where it exists, as it reduces the infrastructure cost on overbridges and in freight depots.

  • Hydrogen-powered locomotives have a go-anywhere capability.
  • There are also a lot of routes in the UK, where freight trains currently run and it would take a long time to electrify all of them.
  • As rail freight companies would have to purchase a lot of new locomotives, I can see them opting for hydrogen-electric hybrid locomotives.

But there are others, who think the only way is full electrification.

London And Lincolnshire By Electric Train

Passenger trains are not a problem, as Alstom, CAF, Hitachi, Stadler and others have demonstrated battery ranges of over fifty miles.

LNER are currently serving Lincoln from London using Hitachi bi-mode Class 800 trains, which use diesel for the 16.5 miles between Newark and Lincoln.

Hitachi’s proposed Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train, is described in this Hitachi infographic.

I believe it would be possible to handle London and Lincoln via Newark without using diesel.

It also looks like it will be possible to convert the LNER’s current Class 800 trains into Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Trains.

But I doubt their range would sufficient to go between London and Lincoln via Peterborough, Spalding and Sleaford, unless there were to be a charging system at Lincoln.

But surely though, the ideal train for Lincolnshire would be a train that ran between London and Cleethorpes via Peterborough, Spalding, Sleaford, Lincoln, Market Rasen and Grimsby Town.

  • Peterborough and Lincoln is 56.9 miles.
  • Lincoln and Cleethorpes is 47.2 miles.
  • The service could be timed for a convenient interchange with the other Lincolnshire train services.
  • The service could run perhaps a few times per day.

With charging systems at Lincoln and Cleethorpes, similar to the Hitachi ABB Power Grids system that I described in Solving The Electrification Conundrum, this service could be run by an Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train.

Peterborough And Lincolnshire By Electric Train

If you could run between Peterborough and major places in Lincolnshire, as part of a London service, I also suspect that a well-designed Peterborough and Lincolnshire service could serve Lincolnshire almost equally well.

It might use Platform 5 to terminate at Peterborough.

  • This is paired with Platform 4, which is the platform generally used by LNER trains from London, so there would be a cross-platform interchange going North.
  • Going South, there would be a need to use the footbridge.

How many people would use an hourly cross-TransLincs service?

 

September 9, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Azumas Everywhere!

I arrived in Peterborough twenty-five minutes late to the site of Azumas everywhere.

Something had obviously gone very wrong. Passengers for Inverness were even being moved from one train in Platform 2 to another in Platform 4.

Was this chaos and my post called Was The Queen’s Locomotive Acting As A Thunderbird? connected?

With hindsight and a bit of help from Real Time Trains, I think they probably were?

 

September 9, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 1 Comment

Connecting East Lincolnshire

The title of this post, is the same as that of this study by Greengauge 21.

The study goes through all the transport options in East Lincolnshire, comes to some interesting general conclusions, in addition to those specific to East Lincolnshire and then makes this recommendation.

We recommend putting in hand the studies to compare and select the best of the two ways identified here to use electrified net zero carbon public transport to meet East Lincolnshire’s future connectivity needs.

The two ways are.

Reopening the East Lincolnshire Railway

Reopening the East Lincolnshire Railway between Louth and Firsby and running these services.

  • Skegness–Wainfleet–Boston–Sleaford–Grantham–Nottingham
  • Louth–Wlloughby–Alford–Firsby–Boston–Donington–Spalding–Peterborough (and
    thence potentially, London KX).

Note.

  1. There would be a mini-hub at Boston.
  2. There would be good connections to Lincolnshire’s InterConnect bus links.

I wrote about reinstating the East Lincolnshire Railway inBeeching Reversal – Firsby And Louth.

An Express Interurban Bus Alternative

The study describes this option like this.

A Louth–Boston–Spalding express bus, interchanging with the east west Nottingham–Skegness trains with timed
connections at a multi-modal hub at Boston and an improved hourly interval rail service onwards
from Spalding southwards.

One of their suggestions is to extend Thameslink to Spalding.

September 8, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Soham Station Aims For December 2021 Opening

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Soham Set To Benefit From New Station After 56 years Without.

Work only started on Soham station earlier this year, so this paragraph is a bit of a surprise.

The completion of the work means that from December, Greater Anglia’s Ipswich to Peterborough service will finally be able to stop at Soham once more, better connecting the population.

The work referred to is changes to the signalling to allow services to call at the new Soham station.

It certainly appears that the station is being built at a canter!

I have some thoughts on the station.

Station Location

This Google Map shows the town of Soham.

Note.

  1. The railway between Ely and Ipswich running North-South at the Western edge of the map.
  2. Station Road connecting the town centre to the railway.
  3. Looking at the map to a large scale, it certainly appears that construction has started, as dark green portacabins and red and white barriers ae visible.

This Network Rail visualisation shows the proposed station.

Note.

  1. The visualisation is looking to the East.
  2. Ely and Peterborough are to the left.
  3. Bury St. Edmunds and Ipswich are to the right.
  4. The footbridge is wide enough to cross a double-track, although the route is currently only single-track at this point.
  5. There is just a single platform on the town side of the track.

It appears to be a simple design, that possibly could speed the construction.

Station Design

This Network Rail visualisation is a closer view of the proposed station.

Note.

  1. The turning circle and the carpark on the town (Eastern) side of the station can be clearly seen.
  2. The single platform will be 100 metres long and will be able to accommodate a four-car Class 755 train, which is 80.7 metres long.
  3. It appears that there is a concrete wall at the back of the platform. Is this to protect passengers from the sometimes-biting winds of the Fens or the swirling air currents generated by passing freight trains.

The station and footbridge are future proofed for a possible second platform and lifts.

Services

Currently, Greater Anglia runs a train between Ipswich and Peterborough every two hours, although this was promised to be doubled in frequency at some time in the future.

Times to various stations are as follows.

  • Ipswich – 48 minutes
  • Bury St. Edmunds – 19 minutes
  • Ely – 9 minutes
  • Peterborough – 50 minutes

These times are from Real Time Trains, which already acknowledges the station.

Note that to get to the important city of Cambridge passengers will need to change at either Bury St. Edmunds or Ely.

In the future there are two ways that the connection between Soham and Cambridge can be improved.

Reinstatement Of The Warren Hill Junction and Snailwell Junction Chord

This Google Map shows the layout, where the Ely and Ipswich Line and the Cambridge Branch Line join to the North of Newmarket in a triangular junction.

Note.

  1. The A14 runs across the top of the map.
  2. The Ely and Ipswich Line runs in a curve to the South of the A14 and the British Racing School.
  3. The former Snailwell junction was to the South of the British Racing School and was the Northern point of the triangular junction.
  4. Chippenham junction is the Eastern point of the triangular junction and is where the Ely and Cambridge lines join.
  5. The former Warren Hill junction was at the South close to the stables of Godolphin and John Gosden and was the Southern point of the triangular junction. From Warren Hill junction the railway runs through the Warren Hill tunnel to Newmarket station and ultimately to Cambridge.

If the chord were to be reinstated between Snailwell and Warren Hill junctions, it would be possible to run an hourly service between Soham and Cambridge via Dullingham and Newmarket.

The A14 Parkway Station

The A14 Parkway station is a proposal from the East West Railway.

  • It would be just to the East of Chippenham junction and would be served by both Greater Anglia’s services between Ipswich and Cambridge and Ipswich and Peterborough.
  • It would also be close to the major road junction, where the A11 and the A14 meet.
  • It would be a Park-and-Ride station.

I believe it could be a major factor in cutting road mileage in East Anglia, as drivers going to Cambridge from Ipswich, Norwich, a large area of North-East East Anglia and North Essex could find that using the A14 Parkway station an easier and faster route. But the A14 Parkway would need a frequent service to the soon-to-be-three main Cambridge stations.

A Soham and Cambridge service could reverse at the A14 Parkway station or by careful timetabling, passengers would be able to change trains in a minute or two.

Two Trains Per Hour Between Newmarket and Cambridge

An hourly service between Soham and Cambridge would add an invaluable second hourly service between Newmarket and Cambridge.

It would also fit in with the regular proposals to reopen stations at Six Mile Bottom, Fulbourn and Cherry Hinton.

 

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thoughts On Faster Trains On Thameslink

The Class 700 trains used by Thameslink only have an operating speed of 100 mph.

I do wonder, if that is a fast enough operating speed for all Thameslink routes.

Sharing The Midland Main Line With 125 mph Trains

A couple of years ago, I travelled back into St. Pancras with a group of East Midlands drivers in a Class 222 train.

They told me several things about the route including that the bridge at the South of Leicester station would be difficult to electrify, as it was low and the track couldn’t be lowered as one of Leicester’s main sewers was under the tracks at the bridge. Perhaps, this is one place, where discontinuous electrification could be used on the Midland Main Line.

They also told me, that sometimes the Thameslink trains were a nuisance, as because of their 100 mph operating speed, the 125 mph Class 222 trains had to slow to 100 mph.

Upgrading Of The Midland Main Line South Of Bedford

The electrification of the Midland Main Line South of Bedford is being updated, so that it is suitable for 125 mph running.

An Analysis Of Services On The Midland Main Line South Of Bedford

The current Class 222 trains are capable of 125 mph and will be replaced by Class 810 trains capable of the same speed on both diesel and electricity.

Currently, a Class 222 train is capable of doing the following on a typical non-stop run between St. Pancras and Leicester.

  • Covering the 30 miles between St. Albans and Bedford in 17 minutes at an average speed of 106 mph.
  • Covering the 50.3 miles between Bedford and Leicester in 30 minutes at an average speed of 100.6 mph.
  • Maintaining 125 mph for long stretches of the route, once the trains is North of London commuter traffic at St. Albans

I can estimate the timings on the 79.2 miles between Leicester and St. Albans, by assuming the train runs at a constant speed.

  • 100 mph – 47.5 minutes
  • 110 mph – 43.2 minutes
  • 125 mph – 38 minutes
  • 140 mph – 34 minutes

Note.

  1. I have done the calculation for 140 mph, as that is the maximum operating speed of the Class 810 train with full in-cab digital signalling.
  2. Trains have been running at 125 mph for a couple of decades on the Midland Main Line.
  3. To get a St. Pancras and Leicester time add another 14 minutes, which is the current time between St. Pancras and St. Albans of a Class 222 train.
  4. Some Off Peak trains are timed at 62-63 minutes between St. Pancras and Leicester.
  5. A time of under an hour between St. Pancras and Leicester might be possible and the Marketing Department would like it.
  6. As Thameslink trains between Bedford and St. Albans stop regularly, they are on the slow lines of the four-track railway, to the North of St. Albans.
  7. South of St. Albans, Thameslink trains often run on the fast lines.

I can expect that East Midlands Railway will want to be running their new Class 810 trains as far as far South as they can at 125 mph, to speed up their services. When the signalling allows it, they’ll want to run at 140 mph.

So they won’t want to see Thameslink’s slow trains on the fast lines.

  • But if you look at the Thameslink trains that do run on the fast lines between St. Albans and St. Pancras, they appear to be the four trains per hour (tph) that run to and from Bedford.
  • Of these trains, two tph terminate at Brighton and two tph terminate at Gatwick Airport.
  • The average speed of a Class 222 train between St. Albans and St. Pancras assuming 14 minutes for the 19.7 miles is 84.4 mph.

So it looks to me that a 100 mph Thameslink train could be able to get away without slowing the East Midland Railway expresses.

But then that is not surprising, as for many years, the Class 222 trains worked happily with 100 mph Class 319 trains.

Is There Scope For Extra And Faster Services Into St. Pancras?

I have only done a simple calculation, but I do wonder if there is scope for the following.

  • Increasing the frequency of trains for both Thameslink and East Midlands Railway.
  • Saving a few minutes on East Midlands Railway services.

Consider.

  • The new Class 810 electric trains will probably have better acceleration and deceleration than the current Class 222 diesel trains, when working using electric power.
  • East Midlands Railway is introducing Class 360 trains that were built as 100 mph trains by Siemens, who are now upgrading them to 110 mph trains.
  • Can Siemens do the same for the Class 700 trains and create a sub-fleet capable of 110 mph running?
  • All trains will be running under full in-cab digital signalling with a large degree of automatic train control.

I feel that if the Class 700 trains had the extra speed, they would make the planning of services South of St. Albans easier and allow the Class 810 trains to both run faster and provide more services.

Sharing The East Coast Main Line With 125 mph Trains

The following Thameslink services run up the East Coast Main Line past Stevenage.

  • Cambridge And Brighton – Two tph – Stops at Royston, Ashwell and Morden (1 tph), Baldock, Letchworth Garden City, Hitchin, Stevenage, Finsbury Park, London St Pancras International, Farringdon, City Thameslink, London Blackfriars, London Bridge, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport, Three Bridges, Balcombe, Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill
  • Cambridge and Kings Cross – Two tph – Stops at Foxton, Shepreth, Meldreth, Royston, Ashwell and Morden, Baldock, Letchworth Garden City, Hitchin, Stevenage, Knebworth, Welwyn North, Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield, Potters Bar and Finsbury Park
  • Peterborough and Horsham – Two tph – Stops at Huntingdon, St Neots, Sandy, Biggleswade, Arlesey, Hitchin, Stevenage, Finsbury Park, London St Pancras International, Farringdon, City Thameslink, London Blackfriars, London Bridge, East Croydon, Coulsdon South, Merstham, Redhill, Horley, Gatwick Airport, Three Bridges, Crawley, Ifield, Faygate (limited) and Littlehaven

Note.

  1. Services are generally run by Class 700 trains, although lately the Kings Cross service seems to use Class 387 trains, which have a maximum speed of 110 mph and a more comfortable interior with tables.
  2. It is intended that the Cambridge and Kings Cross service will be extended to Maidstone East by 2021.

In addition there are two Cambridge Express and Fen Line services.

  • Kings Cross and Ely – One tph – Stops at Cambridge and Cambridge North.
  • Kings Cross and King’s Lynn – One tph – Stops at Cambridge, Cambridge North, Waterbeach, Ely, Littleport, Downham Market and Watlington

Note.

  1. These services are generally run by Class 387 trains.
  2. Cambridge and King’s Cross is timetabled at around fifty minutes.

Adding all of this together means that slower services on the East Coast Main Line are comprised of the following in both directions.

  • Three tph – 110 mph – Class 387 trains
  • Four tph – 100 mph – Class 700 trains

These seven trains will have to be fitted in with the 125 mph trains running services on the East Coast Main Line, for LNER, Grand Central, Hull Trains and East Coast Trains.

There are also the following problems.

  • All trains must navigate the double-track section of the East Coast Main Line over the Digswell Viaduct and through Welwyn North station.
  • The King’s Cross and Cambridge service stops in Welwyn North station.
  • Full in-cab digital signalling is being installed on the East Coast Main Line, which could increase the speed of the expresses through the double-track section.

Could the introduction of the Class 387 trains on the Cambridge and King’s Cross service have been made, as it easier to fit in all the services if this one is run by a 110 mph train?

However, the full in-cab digital signalling with a degree of automatic train control could be the solution to this bottleneck on the East Coast Main Line.

  • Trains could be controlled automatically and with great precision between perhaps Hatfield and Stevenage.
  • Some expresses might be slowed to create gaps for the Cambridge and Peterborough services.
  • The Hertford Loop Line is also getting full in-cab digital signalling, so will some services be sent that way?

In Call For ETCS On King’s Lynn Route, I talked about a proposal to improve services on the Fen Line. This was my first three paragraphs.

The title of this post, is the same as that on an article in Edition 849 of Rail Magazine.

The article is based on this document on the Fen Line Users Aoociation web site, which is entitled Joint Response To Draft East Coast Main Line Route Study.

In addition to ETCS, which could improve capacity on the East Coast Main Line, they would also like to see journey time reductions using trains capable of running at 125 mph or faster on the King’s Lynn to Kings Cross route.

My scheduling experience tells me that a better solution will be found, if all resources are similar.

Hence the proposal to run 125 mph trains between King’s Cross and King’s Lynn and probably Ely as well, could be a very good and logical idea.

If the Class 700 trains were increased in speed to 110 mph, the trains through the double-track section of the East Coast Main Line would be.

  • One tph – 110 mph – Class 387 trains
  • Four tph – 110 mph – Class 700 trains
  • Two tph – 125 mph – New trains

Note.

  1. This would probably be an easier mix of trains to digest with the high speed services, through the double-track section.
  2. I like the idea of extending the Ely service to Norwich to give Thetford, Attleborough and Wymondham an improved service to London, Cambridge and Norwich.

The new trains would probably be a version of Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train.

  • It would need to be capable of 125 mph on the East Coast Main Line.
  • If the Ely service were to be extended to Norwich, this section would be on battery power.

There are certainly a lot of possibilities.

But as with on the Midland Main Line, it looks like for efficient operation, the operating speed of the Class 700 trains on the route needs to be increased to at least 110 mph.

Could Faster Class 700 trains Improve Services To Brighton?

These are the Thameslink services that serve Bedford, Cambridge and Peterborough, that I believe could be run more efficiently with trains capable of at running at speeds of at least 110 mph.

  • Bedford and Brighton – Two tph
  • Bedford and Gatwick Airport – Two tph
  • Cambridge and Brighton – Two tph
  • Cambridge and Maidstone East – Two tph
  • Peterborough and Horsham – Two tph

Note.

  1. I have assumed that the Cambridge and King’s Cross service has been extended to Maidstone East as planned.
  2. Eight tph serve Gatwick Airport.
  3. Four tph serve Brighton.

The Gatwick Express services have a frequency of two tph between London Victoria and Brighton calling at Gatwick Airport is already run by 110 mph Class 387 trains.

It would appear that if the Bedford, Cambridge and Peterborough were run by uprated 110 mph Class 700 trains, then this would mean that more 110 mph trains would be running to Gatwick and Brighton and this must surely improve the service to the South Coast.

But it’s not quite as simple as that, as the Cambridge and Maidstone East services will be run by eight-car trains and all the other services by twelve-car trains.

Conclusion

There would appear to be advantages in uprating some or possibly all of the Class 700 trains, so that they can run at 110 mph, as it will increase capacity on the Brighton Main Line, East Coast Main Line and Midland Main Line.

 

 

April 6, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Class 93 Locomotive Hauling A 1500 Tonne Train Between The Port Of Felixstowe And Nuneaton

I am writing this post to show how I believe the new Class 93 locomotive would haul a freight train between the Port of Felixstowe and Nuneaton, where it would join the West Coast Main Line for Liverpool, Manchester mor Scotland.

Why 1500 Tonnes?

This article on Rail Engineer, which is entitled, Re-Engineering Rail Freight, gives a few more details about the operation of the Class 93 locomotives.

This is said about performance.

As a result, the 86-tonne Class 93 is capable of hauling 1,500 tonnes on non-electrified routes and 2,500 tonnes on electrified routes. With a route availability (RA) of seven, it can be used on most of the rail network.

So as I’m talking about non-electrified routes, I’ll use 1500 tonnes.

Sections Of The Route

The route can be divided into these sections.

  • Port of Felixstowe and Trimley – 2.3 miles – 7 minutes – 19.7 mph –  Not Electrified
  • Trimley and Ipswich Europa Junction – 13.5 miles – 43 minutes -18.8 mph – Not Electrified
  • Ipswich Europa Junction and Haughley Junction – 12.1 miles – 24 minutes -30.2 mph – Electrified
  • Haughley Junction and Ely – 38.3 miles – 77 minutes -29.8 mph – Not Electrified
  • Ely and Peterborough – 30.5 miles – 58 minutes -31.6 mph – Not Electrified
  • Peterborough and Werrington Junction – 3.1 miles – 5 minutes -37.2 mph – Electrified
  • Werrington Junction and Leicester – 49.1 miles – 97 minutes -30.4 mph – Not Electrified
  • Leicester and Nuneaton – 18.8 miles – 27 minutes -41.8 mph – Not Electrified

Note.

  1. The train only averages around 40 mph on two sections.
  2. There is electrification at between Europa Junction and Haughley Junction, at Ely and Peterborough, that could be used to fully charge the batteries.
  3. In Trimode Class 93 Locomotives Ordered By Rail Operations (UK), I calculated that the 80 kWh batteries in a Class 93 locomotive hauling a 1500 tonne load can accelerate the train to 40 mph.

I can see some innovative junctions being created, where electrification starts and finishes, so that batteries are fully charged as the trains pass through.

  • There must be tremendous possibilities at Ely, Haughley and Werrington to take trains smartly through the junctions and send, them on their way with full batteries.
  • All have modern electrification, hopefully with a strong power supply, so how far could the electrification be continued on the lines without electrification?
  • Given that the pantographs on the Class 93 locomotives, will have all the alacrity and speed to go up and down like a whore’s drawers, I’m sure there will be many places on the UK rail network to top up the batteries.

Consider going between Ely and Peterborough.

  • Leaving Ely, the train will have a battery containing enough energy to get them to forty mph.
  • Once rolling along at forty, the Cat would take them to the East Coast Main Line, where they would arrive with an almost flat battery.
  • It would then be a case of pan up and on to Peterborough.

These are my ideas for how the various sections would be handled.

Port of Felixstowe And Trimley

As I stated in Rail Access To The Port Of Felixstowe, I would electrify the short section between the Port of Felixstowe And Trimley. This would do the following.

  • Charge the batteries on trains entering the Port, so they could operate in the Port without using diesel.
  • Charge batteries on trains leaving the Port, so that they could have a power boost to Ipswich.
  • The trains could be accelerated to operating speed using the electrification.

There would also be no use of diesel to the East of Trimley, which I’m sure the residents of Felixstowe would like.

Trimley and Ipswich Europa Junction

This section would be on diesel, with any energy left in the battery used to cut diesel running through Ipswich.

Ipswich Europa Junction and Haughley Junction

Consider.

  • This is a 100 mph line.
  • It is fully-electrified.
  • All the passenger trains will be running at this speed.

If the freight ran at that speed, up to 17 minutes could be saved.

Haughley Junction And Ely

This section would be diesel hauled, with help from the batteries, which could be fully charged when entering the section.

There are also plans to improve Haughley Junction, which I wrote about in Haughley Junction Improvements.

One possibility would be to extend the electrification from Haughley Junction a few miles to the West, to cut down diesel use in both Greater Anglia’s Class 755 trains and any freight trains hauled by Class 93 locomotives.

As there are plans for an A14 Parkway station at Chippenham Junction, which is 25 miles to the West of Haughley Junction, it might be sensible to electrify around Chippenham Junction.

Ely and Peterborough

This section would be diesel hauled, with help from the batteries, which could be fully charged when entering the section.

It should also be noted that the tracks at Ely are to be remodelled.

  • Would it not be sensible to have sufficient electrification at the station, so that a Class 93 locomotive leaves the area with full batteries?
  • Acceleration to operating speed would be on battery power, thus further reducing diesel use.

It probably wouldn’t be the most difficult of projects at Peterborough to electrify between Peterborough East Junction and Werrington Junction on the Stamford Lines used by the freight trains.

On the other hand, I strongly believe that the route between Ely and Peterborough should be an early electrification project.

  • It would give a second electrified route between London and Peterborough, which could be a valuable diversion route.
  • It would allow bi-mode trains to work easier to and from Peterborough.
  • It would be a great help to Class 93 locomotives hauling freight out of Felixstowe.

As the Ely-Peterborough Line has a 75 mph operating speed, it would Class 73 locomotive-hauled freights would save around thirty ,inutes.

Peterborough and Werrington Junction

This section looks to be being electrified during the building of the Werrington Dive Under.

Werrington Junction and Leicester

This section would be diesel hauled, with help from the batteries, which could be fully charged when entering the section.

Leicester and Nuneaton

This section would be diesel hauled, with help from the batteries,

As there is full electrification at Nuneaton, this electrification could be extended for a few miles towards Leicester.

Conclusion

This has only been a rough analysis, but it does show that Class 93 locomotives can offer advantages in running freight trains between Felixstowe and Nuneaton.

But selective lengths of electrification would bring time and diesel savings.

January 17, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Network Rail’s Big Push

The title of this press release on the Network Rail web site is 11,000 Tonne Tunnel To Be Installed On The Railway In First For UK Engineering.

They have also released this aerial photograph of the tunnel, before it is pushed into place.

Note.

  1. The tunnel, which is just a curved concrete box is in the middle of the picture.
  2. To its left is the double-track Peterborough-Lincoln Line.
  3. Running across the far end of the tunnel are the multiple tracks of the East Coast Main Line.
  4. Peterborough is a few miles to the left, with the North to the right.

This Google Map shows the same area from directly above.

Note.

  1. The double-tracks of the Stamford Lines closest to the South-West corner of the map.  These link the Peterborough-Birmingham Line to Peterborough.
  2. Next to them are the triple tracks of the East Coast Main Line.
  3. The third rail line is the double-track of the Peterborough and Lincoln Line.
  4. The new tunnel can be seen at the top of the map.

This map from Network Rail, shows the new track layout.

The map shows that the Stamford Line will divide with two tracks (1 and 4) going North to Stamford as now. Two new tracks (2 and 3) will dive-under the East Coast Main Line to join the  existing Peterborough and Lincoln Line.

The tracks will run through the tunnel in the pictures, after it has been pushed under the East Coast Main Line.

  • This will mean that the many freight trains between Peterborough and Lincoln will not have to cross the East Coast Main Line on the flat.
  • This in turn could allow faster running of trains on the East Coast Main Line, that are not stopping at Peterborough.

This second Google Map shows the area to the North of the first map.

Note.

  1. The East Coast Main Line in the South-West corner of the map.
  2. The Peterborough and Lincoln Line curving from North-South across the map.
  3. A bridge would appear to be being constructed to take the A15 road over the new tracks, that will go through the tunnel.
  4. Another bridge will be constructed to take Lincoln Road over the new tracks.

It is certainly not a small project.

That is emphasised by this third Google Map, which is to the North of the previous map.

This map would appear to show space for more than a pair of tracks.

It looks to me, that space is being left for future rail-related development.

  • Could it be for a small freight yard, where trains could wait before proceeding?
  • If it were electrified, it could be where freight trains to and from London, switched between electric and diesel power.
  • Could it be passing loops, so that freight trains can keep out of the way of faster passenger trains?
  • Would it be a place for a possible new station?

If it is to be a full rail freight interchange, I can’t find any mention of it on the Internet.

The Big Push

Summarising, what is said in the press release, I can say.

  • Major works to occur over nine days between 16 and 24 January
  • It will be pushed at 150cm per hour.
  • A reduced level of service will operate.
  • It will take several weekends.

I hope it’s being filmed for later broadcasting.

Thoughts On Services

I have a few thoughts on passenger services.

London And Lincoln Via Spalding And Sleaford

Consider.

  • Peterborough and Lincoln is 57 miles.
  • The route has lots of level crossings.
  • Much of the route between Peterborough and Lincoln has an operating speed of 75 mph
  • There is a 50 mph limit through Spalding. Is this to cut down noise?
  • Trains between Peterborough and Lincoln take a shortest time of one hour and twenty-three minutes, with four stops.
  • Peterborough and Lincoln is 57 miles.
  • This is an average speed of 41 mph.

I wonder what time a five-car Class 800 train would take to do the journey.

  • At an average speed of 50 mph, the train would take 68 minutes and save 15 minutes.
  • At an average speed of 60 mph, the train would take 57 minutes and save 26 minutes.
  • At an average speed of 70 mph, the train would take 49 minutes and save 18 minutes.

As the fastest London Kings Cross and Peterborough time is 46 minutes, this would mean that with an average speed of 60 mph, a time between London Kings Cross of one hour and forty-three minutes could be possible.

  • There could be additional time savings by only stopping at Peterborough, Spalding and Sleaford.
  • The Werrington Dive Under looks to be built for speed and could save time.
  • If the 50 mph limit through Spalding is down to noise, battery electric trains like a Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train might be able to go through Spalding faster.
  • Could some track improvements save time between Peterborough and Lincoln?

As the fastest journeys via Newark to Lincoln take one hour and fifty-six minutes, it looks to me, that LNER might be able to save time by going via Spalding and Sleaford after the Werrington Dive Under opens.

London And Skegness

If there were a fast London train from Sleaford, it will take under an hour and thirty minutes between London Kings Cross and Sleaford.

  • Currently, the connecting train between Skegness and Sleaford takes an hour for the forty miles.
  • The service is currently run by Class 158 trains.
  • With some 100 mph trains on the Skegness and Sleaford service, it might be possible to travel between London and Skegness in two hours and fifteen minutes with a change at Sleaford.

There would appear to be possibilities to improve the service between London and Skegness.

Lincoln And Cambridge

I used to play real tennis at Cambridge with a guy, who was a Cambridge expansionist.

He believed that Cambridge needed more space and that it should strongly rcpand high-tech research, development and manufacturing all the way across the fens to Peterborough and beyond.

I listened to his vision with interest and one thing it needed is a four trains per hour express metro between Cambridge and Peterborough.

  • Ely and Peterborough should be electrified for both passenger and freight trains.
  • March and Spalding should be reopened.
  • Cambridge has the space for new services from the North.

Extending the Lincoln and Peterborough service to Cambridge could be a good start.

Conclusion

The Werrington Dive Under will certainly improve services on the East Coast Main Line.

I also feel, that it could considerably improve rail services between London and South Lincolnshire.

It certainly looks, like Network Rail have designed the Werrington Dive Under to handle more traffic than currently uses the route.

Towns like Boston, Skegness, Sleaford and Spalding aren’t going to complain.

 

 

 

 

 

January 11, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment