The Anonymous Widower

Reinstatement Of Branch Lines On The Isle Of Wight

This is one of the successful bids in the First Round of the Restoring Your Railway Fund.

This article on isleofwhiteradio is entitled Funding From Government To Develop Isle Of Wight Railway Reopening Proposals.

The article lists two proposed schemes for expansion of the Island Line.

• Extension of the existing Island Line service (Ryde-Shanklin) south of Shanklin to reach Ventnor, calling at Wroxall.
• Integration with, and extension of, the existing Isle of Wight Steam Railway route to provide passenger services through Smallbrook from Ryde to Newport.

The article has an informative map.

Nearly, three years ago, I wrote Diesel And Battery Trains Could Be The Solution For Island Line, based on an article on the Island Echo, with the same title.

Since then, things have moved on and these developments have started.

  • Vivarail are building a fleet of five new zero-carbon Class 484 electric trains.
  • Network Rail have promised £5 million to upgrade Ryde Pier to secure the future of the line.
  • The track and signalling system will be upgraded this winter.
  • The passing loop at Brading will be reinstated.

This will allow a thirty minute service interval from May 2021.

Wikipedia states that a twenty-minute service could be possible in the future.

The Trains

These pictures show the Class 230 trains on the Marston Vale Line.

Note.

  1. These are a diesel-electric version of the Class 484, which will use the existing third-rail electrification and possibly batteries on the Island Line.
  2. The operator can choose an interior appropriate to their needs.
  3. Three-car versions of the train have been ordered by Transport for Wales.

Battery versions of the train are available with a forty-mile range, See Retired London Underground Train Travels Forty Miles Solely On Battery Power.

The Extension To Ventnor

Looking at the map and measuring distance using methods that would have been known to Drake and Grenville, I estimate that the distance between Shanklin and Ventnor via Wroxhall is less than fifteen miles.

  • As the battery range of Vivarail’s trains can be in the region of forty miles, this must open up the possibility of using battery power between Shanklin and Ventnor.
  • Building the extension without electrification would lower the cost.
  • Trains running from Shanklin to Ventnor would be charged on the electrified section of the route.
  • One of Vivarail’s charging systems could be installed at Ventnor if required. See Charging A Battery-Powered Class 230 Train.

Would Vivarail just add a third car with batteries to the Class 484 trains and update the software to enable trains to run on the extension to Ventnor?

The Extension To Newport

The Island Line connects to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway at Smallbrook Junction station.

Note.

  1. The Island line running North-South on the Eastern side of the map.
  2. The Isle of Wight Steam Railway curving away to the South-West.
  3. The two railways connecting at Smallbrook Junction station.
  4. Ryde is to the North.
  5. Shanklin is to the South.
  6. Newport is to the West.

I doubt, that allowing trains to run between Ryde and Newport, would be one of the most challenging projects in railway engineering.

The map on the isleofwightradio web site, shows a chord, that would allow trains to run between Shanklin and Newport.

I would estimate that the distance between Smallbrook Junction and Newport is around ten miles.

  • The terminus would appear to be in the Barton area of Newport.
  • Much of the route would appear to be across open countryside.
  • The only place for a station could be the Isle of Wight Crematorium. Why not?

As with the extension to Ventnor, I believe that battery-electric Class 484 trains could run services to Newport.

Will The Isle Of Wight Steam Railway Object?

I very much feel, that if the scheme is well-designed, that they could be a beneficiary because of increased numbers of visitors.

The scheme might also be able to give the steam railway paths to run steam trains as far as Ryde St. John’s Road station.

Conclusion

This proposal is an elegant one, that uses proven technology and builds smoothly on work, that is already underway.

It is also a zero-carbon solution, if the electricity is from renewable sources.

I also suspect, if Network Rail put one of their brighter teams on the current upgrade to the track and signalling of the Island Line, that the extra work needed to connect to Ventnor and Newport, could be planned and costed in a very short time.

 

 

May 27, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

This Is My Second Lockdown

I can’t be the only person, but in the 1970s, I has locked myself away for nearly a year before. I did it to write the first version of the Project Management software; Artemis.

There are some differences between my situation then and my situation now.

  • My wife was alive then and we saw each other for perhaps two days a week.
  • I could drive and I occasionally went down the Clopton Crown for the odd pint and meal!
  • I hadn’t been diagnosed as a coeliac, as that happened in 1997.
  • There was no Internet or social media.
  • There was no Radio 5 Live.
  • I am a better cook now, than I was then.
  • I am within walking distance of a Marks and Spencer Simply Food store.

I think the rules for surviving are as follows.

  • Eat and drink enough.
  • Have entertaining radio or television on.
  • Break the day up with a bit of exercise.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Arrange good weather.

Let’s hope this lockdown turns out as well as the last.

March 31, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Health, World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Open Letter To Jamie Burles Of Greater Anglia

I will open by saying that this letter is not a complaint about your company, as you, like all your passengers and staff are just suffering collateral damage from the overwhelming incompetence of the real culprit.

I have been supporting Ipswich Town, off and on, since my parents retired to Felixstowe around 1960, when the next door neighbour used to take me to Portman Road.

In 2007, after living together in Suffolk for nearly forty years, my wife died of a squamous cell carcinoma of the heart, followed in 2010, by our son, who died at just thirty-seven of pancreatic cancer. I am coeliac and because of all this grief, I neglected my health, which caused me to have a serious stroke. Luckily, the only lasting problem, I suffered was a partial loss of vision, which meant I was unable to drive.

So I sold up in Suffolk and moved back to London, where I had been born in 1947.

For a couple of years, things went well coming out to Ipswich for matches by train. Typically, on a match day I would have a gluten-free lunch in London and catch the reliable 12:30 Norwich express and just arrive in my seat a few minutes before kick-off.

I should note, that there is only one reliable place for a coeliac like myself, who needs gluten-free food to eat in Ipswich and that is Pizza Express. But you can only eat so much pizza! I can get gluten-free sandwiches in Marks and Spencer, but as with the pizza, it means walking to the centre of town and at seventy-two now, that is not such an easy proposition, as it once was.

Over the last six years, the journey has got worse. The much longer journey  time on replacement buses, means I can’t eat properly or do any of the other things , I need to do in life on an average Saturday.

Consider.

  • Football may be important to me, but it is not that important.
  • I should say, that sometimes, I go via Cambridge, when replacement buses are in operation for a change, as I can have a meal in the city with friends or buy sandwiches in the Marks & Spencer in the station.
  • In all these years of disruption, it always seems that if Ipswich are at home on the Saturday, there would be a busification of the service, whereas on other Saturdays a full service operated.

When I first started coming out from London to see matches, there were quite a few supporters on the trains from London, including one guy in a wheel-chair. Over the years many seem to have fallen by the wayside, because of the constant disruption.

I had hoped that this season, Network Rail’s deplorable project management of the Great Eastern Main line, which often results in surprise closures,  would have been consigned to history.

But if ever, there have been more closures this season and the latest batch of nine closures starting on Saturday, are the last straw as far as I am concerned.

Saturday’s closure was particularly inconvenient, as Kings Cross was closed and the West Anglia Main Line was running a reduced service, so in the end, I had a late breakfast at St. Pancras and took Southeastern Highspeed to Ebbsfleet where a friend and fellow Ipswich season ticket holder, who lives nearby, gave me a lift  to the match. The home-to-home round trip , was actually almost as long, as that on the previous Saturday’s trip to Tranmere.

Looking at the next few Saturday Ipswich home games, I see the following.

  • Peterborough – 1st February – Normal service (?)
  • Burton Albion – 15th February – Buses
  • Oxford United – 22nd February – Buses
  • Coventry – 7th March – Buses
  • Portsmouth- 21th March – Buses
  • Rochdale – 18th April – Buses

I probably speak with more authority, than most, as the company I started in Ipswich; Metier Management Systems, is recognised as one of the companies, that changed project management completely, in the last three decades of the twentieth century. At times, half the major projects in the world were being planned and managed by software I wrote in a Suffolk attic.

I rate, Network Rail’s performance over the last few years in the wider UK, as one of the worst project management disasters I have known, alongside Berlin’s Brandenburg Airport, the legendary hospital built the wrong way round, and the Boeing 737 MAX.

January 26, 2020 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Will HS2 And Northern Powerhouse Rail Go For The Big Bore?

It looks to me that there will be increasing links and merging between High Speed Two (HS2) and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR).

This report on the Transport for the North web site, is entitled At A Glance – Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Proposals and possibilities include.

  • NPR will have a Western terminal at a new station in Liverpool City Centre.
  • HS2 trains would access Liverpool and Manchester via a junction between HS2 and NPR at High Legh.
  • There will be six trains per hour (tph) between Liverpool and Manchester via Manchester Airport.
  • The route between Manchester and Manchester Airport is planned to be in tunnel.
  • There will be six tph between Manchester and Leeds.

In addition, Boris has made positive noises about a high speed line between Manchester and Leeds being of a high priority.

So will the planners go for the logical solution of a High Speed tunnel between Manchester Airport and Leeds?

  • There could be a theoretical capacity of perhaps 15 tph, which is the design capacity of High Speed Two.
  • Speeds of up to 140 mph should be possible.
  • Stations could be at Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly/Piccadilly Gardens, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds.
  • West of Manchester Airport, the route appears easier and the tunnel would emerge close to the airport.
  • East of Leeds the tunnel would join up with existing routes to Doncaster, Hull, Newcastle and York.

I believe such a tunnel could be built without disrupting existing rail services and passengers. Remember building Crossrail’s tunnels was an almost invisible process.

It would result in two rail systems across Northern England.

  • Upgraded Classic Rail Routes
  • The Big Bore

My thoughts on the two systems follow.

Upgraded Classic Rail Routes

This could include improvements such as these,

  • Extra passing loops.
  • Selective electrification
  • Improved stations
  • Comprehensive in-cab digital signalling
  • More paths for passenger and freight trains.

Which could be applied to routes, such as these.

In addition, there could be the reopening of some closed or freight routes to passenger trains.

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Network Rail Reveals Detailed £2.9bn Upgrade Plans For TransPennine Route.

It is a comprehensive upgrade that includes.

  • Improvement between Huddersfield and Westtown
  • Grade separation or a tunnel at Ravensthorpe
  • Rebuilding and electrification of eight miles of track.
  • Possible doubling the number of tracks from two to four.
  • Improved stations at Huddersfield, Deighton, Mirfield and Ravensthorpe.

This project would be a major improvement to the Huddersfield Line.

In Sheffield Region Transport Plan 2019 – Hope Valley Line Improvements, I talked about planned improvements to the Hope Valley Line, which should begin in the next couple of years.

These improvements are given in detail under Plans in the Wikipedia entry for the Hope Valley Line.

The Hope Valley Improvements will cost in the region of tens of millions of pounds and Wikipedeia sums up the benefits like this.

These changes to allow three fast trains, a stopping train and freight trains each hour were also supported in a Transport for the North investment report in 2019, together with “further interventions” for the Northern Powerhouse Rail programme.

It seems like good value to me!

So could we see other Multi-million and billion pound projects created to improve the classic routes across the Pennines?

Projects would be fully planned and the costs and benefits would then be assessed and calculated.

Then it would be up to the Project Managers to devise the optimal structure and order in which to carry out all the projects.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the following techniques used.

  • Discontinuous electrification to avoid bridge reconstruction.
  • Intelligent, hybrid diesel/electric/battery trains from Bombardier, Hitachi or Stadler, capable of 125 mph running and changing mode at speed.
  • Modular digital signalling
  • Factory built stations and step-free bridges.
  • Removal of all level crossings.
  • All stations updated for step-free access between train and platform.

The objectives would be as follows.

  • More paths, where needed.
  • Faster line speed.
  • Less running on diesel.
  • Fast station stops.

Hopefully, the upgrading could be done without too much disruption.

Remember though, that disruption to existing users during a project, is most likely down to bad project management.

The Big Bore

The Central Core tunnel of Crossrail between Royal Oak and East London, was virtually a separate project before Crossrail’s stations and much of other infrastructure was built.

I believe that digging the tunnel first gave a big advantage, in that it could be constructed as an independent project, provided that the logistics of delivering the components and removing the junk was done efficiently.

But it did mean that travellers wouldn’t see any benefits until the project was almost complete.

HS2 and NPR are different in that they also envisage upgrading these routes.

  • The Huddersfield Line
  • The Chat Moss Line
  • The Calder Valley Line
  • The Hope Valley Line
  • The Dearne Valley Line
  • The Selby Line
  • The Midland Main Line North Of Clay Cross

Only the Huddersfield Line is directly affected by the Big Bore.

Effectively, the Big Bore will provide a by-pass route for passenger trains between Leeds and West of Manchester Airport, to take the fast trains of HS2 and NPR underneath the congested classic lines.

In Changes Signalled For HS2 Route In North I said this about a tunnel between Leeds and Manchester.

To get a twenty-five minute time between Leeds and Manchester with a ten minute frequency, which I believe is the minimum service the two cities deserve, would be like passing a whole herd of camels through the eye of a single needle.

The Swiss, who lets face it have higher hills, than we have in Northern England would create a new route mainly in tunnel between the two cities, with perhaps an underground station beneath the current Grade I Listed; Huddersfield station.

The transport for the North report suggests Bradford Low Moor station, as an intermediate station, so why not Bradford Low Moor and Huddersfield stations?

Note that the Gotthard Base Tunnel, which opened a couple of years ago, deep under the Alps, is about the same length as a Leeds and Manchester tunnel, and cost around eight billion pounds.

It would be expensive, but like Crossrail in London, the tunnel would have big advantages.

  • It could be built without disrupting current rail and road networks.
  • It would have a capacity of up to thirty tph in both directions.
  • Unlike Crossrail, it could handle freight trains.
  • It would unlock and join the railway systems to the East and West.

I believe, it would be a massive leap forward for transport in the North of England.

It would be a very big project and probably one of the longest rail tunnels in the world.

Comparison With The Gotthard Base Tunnel

But surely, if a small and rich nation like Switzerland can build the Gotthard Base Tunnel, then we have the resources to build the Big Bore between Manchester Airport and Leeds.

Consider these facts about the Gotthard Base Tunnel.

  • It is two single track bores.
  • Each bore has a track length of around 57 kilometres or 35 miles.
  • The tunnel may be deep, but it is direct and level.
  • The maximum speed is 250 kph or 160 mph.
  • The operational speed for passenger trains is 200 kph or 125 mph.
  • The operational speed for freight is 100 kph or 62 mph.
  • It can take the largest freight trains.

To make numbers even more impressive it is joined to the shorter Ceneri Base Tunnel, to provide an even longer route.

Manchester Airport And Leeds Direct

Now consider Manchester Airport and Leeds.

  • The current rail distance is 56 miles.
  • There are stops at Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield stations.
  • Journey time is eighty minutes.

But the direct distance is only 68 kilometres or forty-three miles.

Surely if the Swiss can blast and dig two 57 km. single-track rail tunnels, we can go eleven kilometres further with all the recent experience of tunnelling around the world.

The lengths of the various legs would be as follows.

  • Manchester Airport and Manchester – 14 km.
  • Manchester and Huddersfield – 35 km.
  • Huddersfield and Bradford – 17 km.
  • Bradford and Leeds – 13 km

Trains running on the various legs at 200 kph, which is the cruising speed of a 1970s-built InterCity 125, could take the following times for the various legs.

  • Manchester Airport and Manchester – 4.2 minutes
  • Manchester and Huddersfield – 10.5 minutes
  • Huddersfield and Bradford – 5.1 minutes
  • Bradford and Leeds – 13 km – 3.9 minutes

Leeds and Manchester Airport would be under thirty minutes apart.

Looking at NPR between Liverpool and Hull, times could be as follows.

  • Liverpool and Manchester – 26 minutes
  • Manchester and Leeds – 20 minutes
  • Leeds and Hull – 38 minutes

Or a Coast-to-Coast time of under ninety minutes.

Train Frequencies

HS2 is being designed to handle fifteen tph, although slower intensive railways in the UK can handle up to twenty-four tph.

At the current time or certainly in a few years time, the theoretical maximum frequency through the Big Bore should be between these two figures. I will assume at least fifteen tph in this post.

The At A Glance – Northern Powerhouse Rail report talks about the following frequencies.

  • Liverpool and Manchester via Manchester Airport – Six tph.
  • Manchester and Leeds – Six tph
  • Leeds and Hull – Two tph

This is all so lacking in ambition. It is like building a new high capacity road and only allowing those with status to use the road.

If Leeds and Manchester Airport can handle fifteen tph, why not use some of it to create an Express Metro under the Pennines?

To me, if the Big Bore is built, nothing short of twelve tph or a train every five minutes is acceptable, at Liverpool, Manchester Airport, Manchester, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds stations.

The extension to Hull could be reduced to perhaps six tph, but with the upgrading of the Hull and Leeds Line to perhaps 140 mph, I’d be bold and create a true TransPennine Express;

Hull and Liverpool every five minutes would be the ultimate Marketing Man’s dream.

The Underground Stations

Manchester Airport, Manchester, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds would all be through stations deep underground.

  • They would be connected to the surface by lifts and escalators.
  • Some entrances to the stations would connect to existing stations and others might emerge in City squares like Manchester’s P:iccadilly Gardens.
  • Most stations would be just two platforms, as all trains would pass through on either side of a large underground concourse.;
  • All stations would have platform edge doors.
  • Passengers would be able to reverse direction by just walking across the concourse.

Stations would build on the lessons learned from Crossrail. But then NPR is closer to Crossrail than a Classic High Speed Line.

The Terminal Stations

The two main terminal stations for NPR and trains running through the Big Bore would be the proposed High Speed station at Liverpool and the existing Hull station.

But one other terminal station is being created; Edinburgh.

I have been going to Edinburgh station to and from England for perhaps thirty years and the capacity of the station has constantly increased.

Recent developments are extended Platforms 5 and 6, that can take the longest LNER trains.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that with the application of digital signalling, that there is capacity for at least eight tph between Edinburgh and Newcastle.

There would certainly be capacity for at least two tph between Liverpool and Edinburgh via Manchester Airport, Manchester, Huddersfield, Bradford, Leeds, York and Newcastle.

In the East the other possibilities for terminals are Doncaster, Newcastle and York.

  • I would discount Newcastle, as it lacks capacity and its location would make it difficult to add more.
  • Doncaster has good connectivity and space, but do Leeds and Hull offer similar connectivity?

So that leaves Hull, Edinburgh and York, as the only Eastern terminals.

In the West, there is probably a need to connect to the Northern section of the West Coast Main Line (WCML).

Glasgow Central is probably the obvious terminal, but it would need an extra connection at the junction of HS2, NPR and WCML at High Legh.

If necessary Preston could be used, as it has space and lots of connectivity.

Integration Of HS2 and NPR

The At A Glance – Northern Powerhouse Rail report is proposing this and it looks that the following HS2 services could be possible between Euston and Manchester.

  • Two tph – Euston and Hull via Old Oak Common, Manchester Airport, Manchester, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds
  • Two tph – Euston and Edinburgh via Old Oak Common, Manchester Airport, Manchester, Huddersfield, Bradford, Leeds, York and Newcastle.

Note.

  1. Manchester Airport, Manchester, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds would all have four tph to and from London, by the Western arm of HS2’s Y.
  2. If in addition there were two tph between Liverpool and Hull and Liverpool and Edinburgh, this would mean four tph from the Big Bore of NPR to both Hull and Edinburgh.
  3. None of these core services need to terminate in the Big Bore.

I very much feel that integrating HS2 and NPR is the way to go.

Could We See A High Speed Northern Metro?

If we assume that the Big Bore could handle the HS2 frequency of at least fifteen tph, then it would be possible to create a service across the Pennines with the following frequencies.

  • Liverpool and Hull – 4 tph
  • Liverpool and Edinburgh – 2 tph
  • Glasgow and Hull – 2 tph
  • London Euston and Hull – 2 tph
  • London Euston and Edinburgh – 2 tph

This would result in the following frequencies

  • Liverpool – 6 tph
  • Glasgow – 2 tph
  • London Euston – 4 tph
  • Manchester Airport – 12 tph
  • Manchester – 12 tph
  • Huddersfield – 12 tph
  • Bradford – 12 tph
  • Leeds – 12 tph
  • Hull – 8 tph
  • York – 4 tph
  • Newcastle – 4 tph
  • Edinburgh – 4 tph

What would these frequencies do for train travel in the North of England?

Freight

The Gotthard Base Tunnel has been designed so that both freight and passenger trains can use the route.

There is a need for extra freight capacity across the country and I wonder if freight trains could use the Big Bore.

I estimate that the Big Bore would be 68 kilometres if bored straight and level between West of Manchester Airport and Leeds.

Lets assume it is seventy kilometres or 43.5 miles.

So times, through the tunnel at various average speeds would be.

  • 125 mph – 21 minutes
  • 110 mph – 23.7 minutes
  • 100 mph – 26.1 minutes
  • 90 mph – 29 minutes
  • 80 mph – 32.6 minutes
  • 62 mph (Gotthard Base Tunnel speed for freight) – 42 minutes.

Could it be mandated that freight trains can use the tunnel, if they could maintain a particular speed?

Consider.

  • A 125 mph train with stops at Manchester Airport, Manchester, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds would probably take thirty minutes to transit the tunnel.
  • A freight train running at 90 mph would take more or less the same time.
  • Fifteen tph would mean a train every four minutes.
  • Automatic control of all trains in the tunnel would be a possibility. It appears to work on the much more complicated Thameslink.

I think with the following conditions, one or even two freight trains per hour, in addition to the passenger trains, can pass through the Big Bore in each direction.

  • The locomotives have the performance of at least the Class 93 locomotive, which is currently being built.
  • Freight trains can be hauled through at a minimum speed, which could be between 90 and 110 mph.
  • The passenger trains and train and platform staff work together to produce very short station dwell times.
  • All passenger trains are identical.
  • Station platforms are designed so that passengers can leave and enter the trains rapidly.

It will be a Big Bore with a capacity to match!

What About Sheffield?

I haven’t forgotten Sheffield, but I think it could be linked across the Penines by another route.

Under the upgrades for Northen Powerhouse Rail, it is proposed that services between Sheffield and Leeds become 4 ton in 25 minutes along the Dearne Valley Line.

Does Boris Know More Than He Lets On?

The headline on the front cover of Issue 885 of Rail Magazine is Boris Backs New Pennine Railway.

There is also a sub-heading of PM commits to Leeds-Machester line.

Boris didn’t apply any substance to the speech, except to say that it will be funded.

I believe that my naive analysis in this post shows that something is possible and I just wonder, if Boris has been briefed about a much better plan?

August 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Crossrail Rushes To Make Bond Street Ready For Testing

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

Mark Wild, who is Crossrail’s Chief Executive, is quoted as telling the London Assembly.

Our current focus is predominantly on key areas of risk such as ensuring that Bond Street station is at the required stage of completion to allow us to commence trial running early in 2020..

The more I read about this project, the more I believe, that the projects lateness is down to two things.

  • Some very optimistic project management by contractors to get some of the enormous contracts on offer.
  • A lack of resources in vital areas like some trades and the testing of trains.

But then what do I know about Project Management and computer software?

Could Bond Street also be the only really late station, as it is on a very cramped site in the centre of some of the most expensive real estate on the planet?

The 3D visualisation shows the area around the station.

Note .

  1. The new Western entrance to Bond Street Crossrail station, which is the cleared site with the russet-coloured building behind.
  2. The new Eastern entrance, which is just to the West of Hanover Square.
  3. Bond Street running down from Next on Oxford Street to Fenwicks.

Surface access is not good to say the least.

The same access problem probably applies at Paddington, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Moorgate and Liverpool Street stations, but at these five stations, there were buildings that could be demolished to give access for construction.

It should also be notes, that some of these stations have only a few local residents.

I’ll take a quick look at these five stations.

Paddington

This Google Map shows Paddington station.

Note the Crossrail station, which has been squeezed into the old cab rank, alongside the station.

Tottenham Court Road

This Google Map shows Tottenham Court Road station.

Note the amount of cleared space around the station,

Farringdon

This Google Map shows Farringdon station.

The Crossrail station is to the West of the current station. It must have helped contractors, that the station had been redeveloped a couple of times for the construction and update of Thameslink.

Moorgate

This Google Map shows Moorgate station.

Moor House, which is the large office block behind Moorgate station, was built in 2004 and was designed to accept Crossrail in the basement.

Finsbury Circus, which is the green space in the East was used as a construction site.

Liverpool Street

This Google Map shows Liverpool Street station.

The main entrance to the Crossrail station will be in front of the Broadgate office complex, which is to the West of the station.

This section of Broadgate is also being redeveloped, which probably helps and hinders in equal measure.

Conclusion

I think lessons will be learned that can be applied to other cross-city rail projects.

  • Future-planning as with Moor House should be increasingly used.
  • Should stations be built in conjunction with other developments?
  • Are stations in areas of high real-estate values a good idea?
  • Could more innovative ways be used to bring in construction materials?

Will future projects be better?

July 16, 2019 Posted by | Computing, Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Damned If They Did: A Defence Of Crossrail

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Global Co9nstruction Review.

It is a must-read!

June 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Are Network Rail And Heathrow Southern Railway Moving Towards A Joint Project On Western And Southern Access To Heathrow Airport?

In Could Rail Access To Heathrow Be Formed Of The Best Bits Of Various Schemes?, which I wrote in August 2018, I came to an extensive series of conclusions, which I have now changed as HS4Air and Windsor Link Railway have now been consigned to the landfill site of unbuilt projects.

In Could Rail Access To Heathrow Be Formed Of The Best Bits Of Various Schemes, But Discounting HS4Air And Windsor Link Railway?, I give my latest views.

These were my conclusions.

Heathrow Connectivity

Heathrow needs a very high level of connectivity, for passengers, workers and freight.

The two major schemes, that are left,  provide that.

  • Heathrow Southern Railway, which extends Heathrow Express to the South West and provides links to Waterloo and Greater South London.
  • Western Rail Approach To Heathrow does what it says in the name.

Both schemes would share the same Western access route to Terminal 5 station and this could be modified to serve a new rail terminal under the new third runway.

What About The Workers?

Heathrow’s other big need is rail access for the increasing numbers of people, who work at the airport and live locally.

  • Heathrow Southern Railway links the airport to South West London.
  • Western Rail Approach To Heathrow links the airport to Reading and Slough.
  • Crossrail links the airport to Old Oak Common with its housing developments and rail connections with High Speed 2 and the London Overground.
  • West London Orbital Railway will bring more workers and passengers to Old Oak Common from all over North West and South West London.

Old Oak Common will be important for many working at the airport.

Pollution Solution

As the airport develops, Heathrow Southern Railway and Western Rail Approach To Heathrow could together make a substantial reduction in the pollution emitted by the airport.

Old Oak Common station

Old Oak Common station will become an important interchange for workers and passengers travelling to and from Heathrow.

  • It must be totally step-free.
  • Some of the long interchange walks on current plans should be augmented by travelators.
  • Crossrail is planning six tph between Old Oak Common and Heathrow. Is that enough?

Get Old Oak Common right and all those needing to go to and from Heathrow will benefit.

Heathrow And Gatwick

The connection between Heathrow and Gatwick airports is tortuous at present, but will get better as the years progress, as Crossrail and Thameslink improve.

As the airports grow, with a third runway at Heathrow and a second one at Gatwick, how many people will want to travel quickly between the two airports, as increasingly, both airports will offer services to more destinations?

As a Londoner, I also believe that we will see more split flights, where passengers stopover in London for a night or two, when they are going halfway around the world.

Terminal London will be the best airport transfer terminal in the world.

Heathrow And High Speed One

I will be very surprised if many travellers need to go quickly between Heathrow and High Speed One.

For those that need to do it, using an extended Crossrail between Heathrow and Ebbsfleet will probably be good enough.

Heathrow And High Speed Two

For all sorts of reasons Heathrow needs good connectivity to High Speed Two.

With the elimination of direct access to the airport by High Speed Two, a short journey between Heathrow Airport and Old Oak Common stations will have to be acceptable.

It should also be noted, that Network Rail’s Western Approach To Heathrow (WRAtH) and Heathrow Southern Railway (HSR) would share the following infrastructure or interests.

  • Heathrow Terminal Five station.
  • The Western access tunnel and track to Heathrow.
  • Network Rail is planning a flyover at Woking, which would help HSR’s plans.

If a rail terminal were to be built under a new third runway, that too would be shared.

An Update On Heathrow Southern Railway

In the May 2019 Edition of Modern Railways there is an article which Is entitled Time For Action On Heathrow’s Southern Link.

Most of the article takes the form of an interview with Graham Cross, who is the Chief Executive of HSR.

The first part is a call to the Government to make a decision soon, as otherwise HSR’s funding and timescale will be at risk.

In the rest of the article, Mr. Cross talks about the project and introduces some changes.

More Tunnels

This is an extract from the Modern Railways article.

The line would be mainly in tunnel to minimise environmental impact. “We would need to tunnel under certain obstacles anyway, and once you’ve set up tunnel boring machines, you might as well stay underground.” says Mr.Cross.

Could this move to tunnels also be driven by improved tunnelling techniques and cost savings, in addition to the environmental impact?

If so, will we be seeing more new tunnels in the UK, for rail, roads, electricity and sewage?

This Google Map shows the Northern section of the HSR route.

Note

  1. The South-Western corner of Heathrow Airport can just be seen in the North-Eastern corner of the map.
  2. Wraysbury station is towards the North-Western corner of the map.
  3. The M25 running North-South
  4. Staines station is the station South of the King George VI Reservoir
  5. The Staines-Windsor Line running North-West from Staines station.
  6. The Waterloo-Reading Line running West from Staines station.

The HSR would need to thread its way on the Eastern side of the M25.

From the map in the Modern Railways article, it appears that the route from Heathrow Terminal 5 station splits into two Southerly routes a short distance to the East of the point where the Staines-Windsor Line goes under the M25.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr may help to make everything clearer.

Note.

  1. The reservoirs are shown.
  2. The troublesome level crossings between Staines and Egham.
  3. It also spears that there is a disused railway going North through Yeovenney Halt.
  4. Yeovenney Halt would not be far from the route of the HSR to the East of where the M25 and the Staines-Windsor Line cross.

This Google Map shows the area in detail.

It’s not an area that with large numbers of houses and businesses.

Two routes are shown for HSR on the map in Modern Railways from the area to the East of where the M25 and the Staines-Windsor Line cross.

  • One route joins the Staines- Windsor Line to take trains to and from Staines station.
  • A second route is shown passing under the Staines-Windsor Line.

Note.

  1. As there is plenty of space, a flyover could be built if needed to connect Heathrow Airport to Staines station.
  2. The space would also be useful for creating a tunnel portal to continue the route to the South.

Two options are shown on the map in Modern Railways, to connect Heathrow to the Chertsey Branch Line.

Option 3 connects to North of Virginia Water station.
Option 8 connects to North of Chertsey station.

This Google Map shows Virginia Water and Staines stations and the area in between.

Note

  1. Virginia Water station is towards the bottom-left of the map,
  2. Staines station is towards the top right.
  3. The area of Yeovenney Halt can just be seen.

This Google Map shows the area between M25 and Chertsey station.

Note that Chertsey station is in the South-East corner of the map.

It looks like one or even both of the routes from Yeovenney Halt to the Chertsey Branch Line could be fairly easy to dig.

  • There could be suitable sites at both Virginia Water and Chertsey.
  • The distance is under ten miles.
  • Much of the work could probably be done without closing the railways.
  • There’s space for a flyover at both locations.
  • Very few, if any business or residents would need to sell up and move.
  • The tunnels could even be under the M25.

As Mr. Cross said, tunnelling could be a good option.

As WRAtH will also be tunnelled could both twin bore tunnels be dug with the same tunnel boring machines? Or as part of the same contract?

There certainly seem to be options for co-operation between the two projects to save money.

No West-Facing Triangular Junction At Staines

This is an extract from the Modern Railways article.

An earlier idea to create a triangular junction with a west-facing connection towards Egham did not command local aupport and was dropped.

I described this previously in Heathrow Southern Railway’s Proposed Chord At Staines.

It was intended to enable a two tph service between Weybridge and Heathrow Terminal 5 stations.

I would assume passengers are happy to change trains at Staines, which is step-free.

The Google Map visualisation, shows the footbridge at Staines station.

Waterloo To Heathrow Services

This is an extract from the Modern Railways article.

The first would comprise a four trains per hour (tph) service from Waterloo to Heathrow Terminal 5 as an extension of existing SWR services, with 2 tph running via Twickenham and 2 tph via Hounslow. HSR envisages these services would be formed of SWR’s new Class 701 trains.

Note.

  1. Ten-car Class 701 trains will probably be used.
  2. These trains have 556 seats and can accommodate 740 standees, which is nearly 1300 passengers.

The frequency and capacity compares well with Crossrail to the Airport.

Heathrow Express Extension To Woking, Guilford and Basingstoke

This will become two services wit a frequency of two tph.

  • Paddington and Guildford via Old Oak Common, Heathrow, Woking and Basingstoke.
  • Paddington and Guildford via Old Oak Common, Heathrow, Woking and Guildford.

Note.

  1. Basingstoke, Guildford and Paddington get a direct train to Heathrow, Old Oak Common and Paddinhgton.
  2. Twelve car Class 387 trains would work the service.
  3. My rough estimate says thirty four-car sets would be needed.
  4. A twelve-car Class 387 train has sixty percent more seats than a nine-car Class 332 train.

It is also said in the article, that a flyover could be built at Woking in CP6, which would help the Heathrow Express services.

Crossrail Extension To A Bay Platform At Staines Station

In Heathrow Southern Railway’s Plans For Staines, I discussed a plan to extend Crossrail services from Heathrow Terminal 5 station to a bay platform at Staines station.

It is not mentioned in the Modern Railways , so am I right to think, it is not going to happen.

  • The proposed Waterloo to Heathrow Terminal 5, will provide a capacity of 5,200 passengers per hour between Staines and Heathrow Terminal 5
  • Do WRAtH intend to run the two tph, that HSR wanted for Staines, to Slough and Reading to provide Western access to Heathrow?

So dropping the original plan is probably a reasonable decision.

How Many Trains Will Use Heathrow Terminal 5 Station

Currently, the service to Heathrow Terminal 5 station is as follows.

  • 4 tph – Heathrow Express – Paddington and Terminal 5
  • 2 tph – TfL Rail – Paddington and Terminal 5

There is also a shuttle to Terminal 4 station, running approximately every fifteen minutes.

Crossrail

After Crossrail opens the service will be.

  • 4 tph – Heathrow Express – Paddington and Terminal 5
  • 2 tph – Croosrail – Paddington and Terminal 5

Only the name on the train and the train type will have changed.

WRAtH

According to Wikipedia, WRAtH will have the following services.

t is envisaged that there would be a service of four trains an hour from Heathrow to Slough and Reading. Earlier publicity also suggested there would be two trains per hour to Twyford and Maidenhead.

Heathrow Express have offered to run services to Reading which would stop only at Slough.

I have I have a few thoughts.

  • A service from Reading must have access to all terminals at Heathrow.
  • All stations between Langley and Reading need at least two tph to Heathrow.
  • Should services between Paddington and Heathrow be extended to Reading?
  • Services must run on a 24/7 basis, to allow people to get to and from work and passengers on seriously delayed flights to get to their destination..

One way to provide a good basic service would be to combine the shuttle between Terminal 4 and 5 with the service to Slough and Reading.

  • A train starting at Reading would call at a number of stations including Slough on its way to Heathrow Airport.
  • It would then call at the following station in order; Heathrow Terminal 5, Heathrow Central, Heathrow Terminal 4, Heathrow Central and Heathrow Terminal 5.
  • It would then return to Reading via Slough.

The stopping pattern between Langley and Reading would be arranged to suit passenger needs.

Advantages of this extended shuttle are as follows.

  • All terminals are served by services originating in the West.
  • The four tph shuttle is matched with four tph on WRAtH to and from Reading.
  • No Westward-facing bay platform is needed at Terrminal 5 to turn trains from Reading.
  • A Westward-facing bay platform might be useful for service recovery.

All trains using WRAtH to and from Reading would use through platforms at Terminal 5.

HSR

HSR will have the following services.

  • 2 tph – Heathrow Express – Paddington and Basingstoke via Woking
  • 2 tph – Heathrow Express – Paddington and Guildford via Woking
  • 2 tph – SWR – Waterloo and Terminal 5 via Hounslow and Staines
  • 2 tph – SWR – Waterloo and Terminal 5 via Twickenham and Staines

Note.

  1. The Heathrow Express services will use through platforms.
  2. The Waterloo services could use a bsay platform.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the current layout of platforms at Heathrow.

 

Adding all the requirements together, the following platforms will be needed.

Two through platforms for the following services.

  • 2 tph – Heathrow Express – Paddington and Basingstoke via Woking
  • 2 tph – Heathrow Express – Paddington and Guildford via Woking
  • 4 tph – Crossrail – WRAtH services between Reading and all terminals

Note.

  1. Eight tph would not be difficult to handle.
  2. Heathrow Express and the WRAtH services would alternate.
  3. There would be same platform interchanges between Heathrow Express and WRAtH services.

In addition, there would be the following.

  • A bay platform for Waterloo services.
  • Possibly another platform for service recovery.

Ther could also be extra platforms for long distance services between Heathrow Terminal 5 and destinations like Bristol, Cardiff, Oxford and Plymouth

It has amazed me, how by combining HSR, Crossrail, Heathrow Express and WRAtH services together needs so few platforms in Terminal 5 station.

Conclusion

Network Rail’s Western Appoach To Heathrow and Heathrow Southern Railway may currently be two separate schemes with different funding models, but they have a lot of shared infrastructure, interests and objectives.

Both projects would surely be better with strong co-operation.

Judging by how well it all seems to fit, it does seem that they are talking.

 

 

April 28, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 12 Comments

Cricklewood Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Cricklewood station is on the list.

This Google Map shows the platforms at Cricklewood station.

Note.

  1. There are three island platforms with two faces. Not all are used.
  2. Each island platform has a set of stairs to a subway.
  3. Two pairs of lines pass between the platforms.
  4. The fast lines are are the Western pair and the slow lines are the Eastern ones.
  5. Platforms are numbeeds from right to left.
  6. To the West of the Western platform, there are two freight lines, which might also be used for the West London Orbital Railway.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines in detail.

Note how the freight lines are directly connected to the Dudding Hill Line, that goes off to the West, via the Cricklewood Curve.

These are a few pictures of the station.

Note that the subway and the station entrance appear to be iin good condition.

Installing Step-Free Access

This type of station with a subway under a series of platforms isn’t as common in the UK, as it is on the Continent.

But there are several examples in the UK, where this type of station has had Subway-to-Platform lifts installed. Examples can be seen at Finsbury Park and Stratford stations.

The West London Orbital Railway

The West London Orbital Railway may be built in the next few years.

One route could connect West Hampstead Thameslink and Hounslow stations and could have a stop at Cricklewood station.

This might mean that up to two extra platform faces would be needed at Cricklewood station, in which case provision must be made to extend the subway and add lifts to any new platforms.

An alternative could be to use bi-directional working between Cricklewood and West Hampstead stations.

  • Only four trains per hour (tp[h) are planned to use the route.
  • The distance between the two stations is only around a mile.
  • Spare faces of existing platforms could be used at both stations.
  • four tph can easily be handled in a terminal platform.
  • No extra tracks would need to be laid.

It would certainly reduce the cost.

Conclusion

This is a relatively easy station to make step-free and it could also be made ready for the West London Orbital at the same time.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if to build, the West London Orbital, just needed the following.

  • Finish step-free access at Cricklewood and Isleworth stations.
  • Refurbish and update the track, signalling and points and crossings.
  • Build a platform at West Hampstead Thameslink station.
  • Build a platform at Houslow station.
  • Open an initial service using battery-electric trains between West Hampstead Thameslink  and Hounslow stations calling at Cricklewood, Acton Central, South Acton, Brentford, Syon Lane and Isleworth.
  • Build the new intermediate stations.

Too often Network Rail’s project management is strung out over a long period, because they play far too safe and attempt not to spend any money!

Here boldness is possible, as there are no large sub-projects, except building the new stations, so they can be done afterwards by developers, who would like to build large numbers of flats with a station in the basement.

I believe that as the railway is there and working, once it has been refurbished and three important platforms have been added, battery-electric trains could start a service.

What better advertisement for your development, than to see the trains to the important hubs at Old Oak Common and West Hampstead,  already running through the building site!

London needs more new rail services, more new and refurbished fully-accessible stations and a lot more housing!

So why not do them all as a partnership?

 

April 6, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

And We Think Crossrail’s Got Problems

Berlin Brandenburg Airport is Berlin’s new airport, that was planned to replace all the current ones.

This is the last paragraph of the introduction in the Wikipedia entry.

After almost 15 years of planning, construction began in 2006. Originally planned to open in October 2011, the airport has encountered a series of delays and cost overruns. These were due to poor construction planning, execution, management, and corruption.[9] Autumn 2020 became the new target for the official opening date[12][13] as 2019 became too improbable.[15][16] A new TÜV report published in November 2017 suggested that the opening could even be delayed until 2021.

Crossrail could be up to two years late, but it looks like this airport could be up to ten!

But then major projects seem to be missing deadlines all over Europe. Even Spurs didn’t get their stadium ready on time!

March 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Should The Three Class 378 Trains Saving The Gospel Oak To Barking Line Be Named?

Lots of passengers will be eternally grateful, if over the next few or more weeks, the three Class 378 trains, currently working the line provide an acceptable service across North London, until the Class 710 trains take over the route.

So after they return to normal service should they be given names?

I would suggest Faith, Hope and Charity, as these names wouldn’t cause offence to anyone.

But they would constantly remind the Mayor, Transport for London and Bombardier, that their failure to plan properly for non-arrival of the Class 710 trains, could have had a much more embarrassing outcome.

March 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment