The Anonymous Widower

New Rail Service From Newcastle To Edinburgh To Stop At These Northumberland Stations

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Chronicle Live.

Details of the service are as follows.

  • It will be run by TransPennine Express.
  • It starts in December 2021.
  • It will run five times per day (tpd)
  • It will call at Cramlington, Morpeth, Widdrington, Alnmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Reston and Dunbar.

It is planned to run at least until May 2023.

These are my thoughts.

What Trains Will TransPennine Express Use?

The service will probably need a single train, if it was run by a dedicated fleet of trains, that just shuttled between Edinburgh and Newcastle. TransPennine could use either an electric  Class 802 train or a diesel Class 185 train.

The diesel train might not be a good idea for operational reasons as TransPennine’s current services to Newcastle and Edinburgh use Class 802 trains.

But this service wouldn’t need a Class 802 train, as the route is fully electrified, so TransPennine might use a Class 800 train, if one were available from another company in the First Group.

TransPennine could also extend selected Manchester Airport and Newcastle services to Edinburgh, which might be the most efficient ways of using both trains and platforms in Newcastle.

This would give those using the intermediate stations between Edinburgh and Newcastle a service to and from Manchester Airport and the intervening stations, with a change at Newcastle, which would involve staying on the same train.

I’d organise the service as five tpd between Manchester Airport and Edinburgh with calls at Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Victoria, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Leeds, York, Northallerton, Darlington, Durham, Chester-le-Street, Newcastle, Cramlington, Morpeth, Widdrington, Alnmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Reston and Dunbar.

The big advantage of this, is that TransPennine could use the existing Class 802 trains, although they may need one more.

Reston Station

It looks like it will be a much needed service, that will get the new Reston station up and running.

I suspect that,  passenger numbers at Reston station will determine the calling pattern after May 2023.

Will Other Services Continue?

TransPennine Express only has one service that stops between Newcastle and Edinburgh and that is the hourly service between Liverpool Lime Street and Edinburgh stations and that only stops at Morpeth.

I doubt this service will be changed, although after May 2023, it may make some extra stops depending on passenger numbers on the new service.

It should be noted that CrossCountry and LNER call irregularly at Alnmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Dunbar.

As LNER are in rather a mess over their new timetable, I suspect that after May 2023, there could be a bit of a sort out of services.

How Will The New Service Fit With The Reopened Northumberland Line?

Initially the Northumberland Line will run as far as Ashington and won’t open until 2023 at the earliest.

But plans exist to extend the Northumberland Line to Morpeth.

The new service would fit well with an extended Northumberland Line service.

How Will The New Service Fit With East Coast Trains New London And Edinburgh Service?

East Coast Trains will be running a new Open Access service between London and Edinburgh from this autumn.

  • It will have a frequency of 5 tpd.
  • It will stop at Newcastle, Morpeth and Stevenage.
  • It will offer one way fares of £25.

East Coast Trains are another First Group company.

As both services are five tpd in both directions, will the two services co-ordinate stops, so that passengers between say London and Reston can take advantage?

Going North, the stopping train could follow the East Coast Trains express and going South the stopping train would be a few minutes in front of the express.

This would also help with maximising capacity between Edinburgh and Newcastle on the busy East Coast Main Line.

Conclusion

This new stopping service between Edinburgh and Newcastle looks to be a simple solution to improve passenger services for intermediate stations between the two important cities.

 

September 3, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

East Kilbride Electrification Underway

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Modern Railways.

These are the last two paragraphs.

As well as electrification, improvements on the line will include an upgrade of East Kilbride station, relocation of Hairmyres station 600 metres to the west, platform extensions and accessibility upgrades. The aim is to provide a four trains per hour eight-car electric service at peak periods. A parallel project will cover electrification between Busby Junction and Barrhead.

The Scottish Government’s plan is to decarbonise its passenger rail services by 2035, chiefly through electrification. It has recently been confirmed that partial electrification of the Borders and Fife Circle routes will follow after the East Kilbride and Barrhead lines, with battery EMUs deployed on these lines.

Because partial electrification is mentioned, it looks like Scotland is getting serious about using battery-electric trains.

This map clipped from Wikipedia, shows the section of the Glasgow South Western Line, that includes Kilmarnock station and the branch to East Kilbride station.

The route North of Strathbungo continues to Glasgow Central station.

Which Sections Will Be Electrified?

I will take each of the sections in turn starting at the North.

Between Muirhouse South And Busby Junctions

This sentence is from the Modern Railways article.

Contractor SPL will commence on-site activities between Muirhouse South Junction and Busby Junction, including piling and construction steelwork foundations to support overhead masts.

On the map, Muirhouse South Junction is to the North of Stratbumgo and Busby junction is clearly marked and is where the East Kilbride branch joins the main line.

This section of new electrification is only around two miles long.

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Network Rail: Strathbungo Locals Vote For New Footbridge.

There have been many bridge replacements for electrification, but this surely must be one of the first, where local people have voted for their preferred design.

The only other bridges on this section appear to be two substantial road bridges, where with any luck, it should be possible to squeeze the wires underneath.

Between Busby Junction And Barrhead Station

The other section listed for electrification is between Busby junction and Barrhead station.

This second section is only around 3.7 miles long and there are only two overbridges, both of which look modern.

Taking the two sections of electrification together they total under twelve track-miles and they are in a continuous straight line

I doubt, that together, they are the one of the world’s most challenging railway electrification projects.

Busby Junction and East Kilbride Station

There is no specific information about electrification between Busby junction and East Kilbride station.

  • The branch is 7.8 miles long.
  • There are fifteen overbridges on the branch.

In Plans To Introduce Battery Powered Trains In Scotland, Hitachi are quoted as saying that their trains will do sixty miles on batteries.

This should be more than enough range to run services to East Kilbride on battery power.

Barrhead and Kilmarnock Stations

There is no specific information about electrification between Barrhead and Kilmarnock stations.

  • The distance is 16.8 miles.
  • There are eleven overbridges between the two stations.

It would appear that Hitachi’s quoted sixty mile range, would be sufficient to enable battery-electric trains to run between the electrification at Barrhead and Kilmarnock station.

Operation

The various services between Glasgow Central and East Kilbride and Kilmarnock stations will probably operate as follows.

  • Glasgow Central To East Kilbride – Electrification for traction and battery charging to Crossmyloof station and then battery power.
  • East Kilbride To Glasgow Central – Battery power and gravity to Crossmyloof station and then electrification.
  • Glasgow Central To Barrhead – Electrification for traction all the way.
  • Barrhead to Glasgow Central – Electrification for traction all the way.
  • Glasgow Central To Kilmarnock – Electrification for traction and battery charging to Barrhead station and then battery power.
  • East Kilbride To Glasgow Central – Battery power to Barrhead station and then electrification.

Note.

  1. All power changeovers could be arranged to take place in stations.
  2. Gravity can be used to assist trains from East Kilbride to Glasgow Central.
  3. Glasgow Central and Barrhead services don’t need trains with batteries.
  4. The return trip between Crossmyloof and Glasgow central stations, should be more than enough to charge the batteries.

The project would appear to have been very well-designed for a fleet of battery-electric trains, with respect to reliability and electrical efficiency.

Onward To Carlisle And Stranraer

Hitachi’s system for discontinuous electrification, that I discussed in Solving The Electrification Conundrum, would appear to be ideal to extend electric trains to Carlisle and Stranraer.

Barrhead and Carlisle are 108 miles apart and Barrhead and Stranraer are 90 miles apart.

By adding two or three intermediate sections of 25 KVAC overhead electrification, it should be possible for electric trains to reliably travel between Glasgow Central and Carlisle or Stranraer.

Project Management

This electrification project could be a Project Manager’s dream.

Electrification projects in the UK can turn out to be nightmares, as if it can go wrong, it inevitably will.

But with this project, it appears that it is planned to get the often-troublesome job of erecting the gantries out of the way early.

The electrification between Muirhouse South junction and Barrhead station can even be completed first, so that passengers can see the benefit of electric trains and the electrification can be fully tested.

There are then a series of independent projects, that can be performed in the most convenient order.

  • Track upgrades.
  • Rebuild East Kilbride station.
  • Move Hairmyres station to its new position.
  • Platform extensions.
  • Improve accessibility.
  • Deliver the new battery-electric trains.

Note.

  1. It looks to me, that all of these smaller projects can be performed, whilst maintaining a full rail service on the railway. Doing that with conventional electrification usually results in some disruption.
  2. Late delivery of the battery-electric trains will not delay the overall project, if there are enough diesel multiple units to fill in.
  3. Passengers will see benefits and new facilities delivered in a stream, rather than all at once.

Similar processes can be used to extend the network to Carlisle and Stranraer.

Conclusion

This is a well-designed project.

 

August 6, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plans To Introduce Battery Powered Trains In Scotland

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in the Scotsman.

This is said about the routes.

Hitachi said the trains could run up to 60 miles on batteries.

It said recharging would take ten to 15 minutes.

That would mean the trains could run beyond Dunblane – the northern extent of ScotRail’s electrified network – as far as Perth and Dundee.

Hitachi has suggested other routes they could be used on including from Glasgow to East Kilbride and Kilmarnock, and on a Glasgow northern suburban line to Anniesland via Maryhill.

The train described in the article sounds very much like the Hitachi Regional Battery Train, which is described in this Hitachi infographic.

My only reservation is that the article is from 2019.

Since then, Scotland has decided to run battery-electric trains to Leven, as I wrote about in Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link.

August 6, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Railway Engineers Build Beaver Pass On Highland Line

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Railway engineers have built what they believe is Scotland’s first ever ‘beaver pass’, to allow the animals to go under the Highland mainline.

Let’s hope the remedial action works, as otherwise, there’ll be increasing train delays caused by beavers, as their numbers and dams proliferate.

The Scottish NFU is also against the reintroduction of beavers, as this article on the Scottish Farmer, which is entitled Don’t Protect The Beaver illustrates.

I can see trouble ahead!

August 2, 2021 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

The New Leven Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

The reinstated Levenmouth Rail Link, will have two stations; Leven and Cameron Bridge.

This Google Map shows the mouth the the River Leven.

The key point to note is the Sainsbury’s supermarket, which is to the North of the Riven Leven, close to the A955 bridge across the river.

This Map from this page on the Network Rail web site, shows the location of the new Leven station.

Note.

  1. Leven station has two platforms.
  2. There is a car park.
  3. There is space for a bus stop and turning area.
  4. There are two waiting shelters, both on the same platform
  5. The platforms look like they could be extended if needed.

It appears that passengers will cross the line by walking past the end of the line.

This map shows a close-up of the bridge over the River Leven.

It used to connect the railway to the coal-fired Methil power station.

Some of the track is still visible.

Is provision being made in the design of Leven station, so that the rail link can be extended across the River Leven to a second station near the Bayview stadium or to allow the development of housing or industrial sites along the Forth of Firth?

Conclusion

It looks to be a good scheme, which connects to the centre of the town and could be developed with bus and walking links for onward travel.

Related Posts

The New Cameron Bridge Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

North From Thornton Junction

Service Provision On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Whisky Galore!

July 27, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Has London Done Its Best To Organise Friday’s England and Scotland Match?

Scotland are coming to play England on Friday, with the match starting at 20:00.

These are my thoughts.

Travelling To Wembley On The Day

This article on The Times is entitled England v Scotland: Ticketless Fans Urged To Stay Away From Wembley.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Thousands of ticketless Scotland fans are set to descend on London for the England game on Friday amid growing concern about the lack of a Covid-secure fan zone.

Nearly 3,000 Scottish fans have tickets for the clash at Wembley but the Scottish Football Supporters Association expects that twice as many will travel south. Some estimate that the number could be as high as 20,000.

The article also says the following about trains on Friday, that would get you to London in time for the match.

  • Fifteen trains  from Glasgow are full.
  • Most of the seventeen trains from Edinburgh are full.

Using the capacity of the trains, I wouldn’t be surprised to see 20,000 Scottish fans coming by train.

But there are other ways to come.

  • Scotland now has a good rail services to places like Doncaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Peterborough and York. All of these places have lots of hotels and a good train service to London.
  • Some will fly.
  • How many will come by coach?
  • Personally, I’ve driven between London and Edinburgh and Glasgow several times and with two nominated drivers, who didn’t drink, it’s an easy drive and can be done in under six hours.
  • London also has a large expatriate Scottish population. How many will go or want to go to the match?
  • Plenty of hotel rooms in London are available for Thursday and Friday night at a reasonable price.

Wembley stadium  is also well-served by public transport and you could park at somewhere like Milton Keynes and get the train to the stadium.

Getting Home

I suspect many will need a hotel room, but it does look that there are plenty available.

Those who’ve driven down, would just pick up their car and drive home through the night.

But will many be intending to sleep rough somewhere?

It’s Been A Long Time!

It’s been a long time since Scotland reached a major finals and it was 1996, when they last played England in the finals of a major tournament.

Surely, this will increase the number of fans, who will turn-up in London without tickets!

Scots Always Travel If They Can!

I am old enough to have watched Celtic with the 1967 European Cup in Lisbon in on a black-and-white television.

They certainly travelled then and amused everybody with their drunken antics after the match.

The last time England played Scotland at Wembley was a friendly in 2013.

This report on the BBC, which is entitled Trafalgar Square Scots Party Leaves 10,000 Beer Cans, describes the antics in Trafalgar Square.

This is a paragraph from the BBC report.

Westminster City Council’s Leith Penny said: “Our crews worked hard round the clock to get London back to normal for our residents and businesses this morning.”

That was mild compared to what a spokesman for Westminster City Council said on the BBC.

I remember he compared the drunken Scots to the well-behaved Dortmund and Bayern Munich fans, who had taken over the square in May. I wrote about that in Trafalgar Square In Yellow.

Everybody is Demob-Happy!

After nearly two years of the pandemic, many are demob-happy and football supporters on both sides will be looking to get to or near the match.

How Many Scots Will Turn Up?

I quoted earlier that 20,000 could turn up!

As my mother would say! “And the rest!”

There Will Be No Fan Zone

This press release from the Mayor of London is entitled EURO 2020 Fan Zone To Host Key Workers For England’s Group Games.

  • All England games, semi-finals and final to be screened
  • Exclusive key worker access for first two, socially-distanced, Fan Zone matches as mark of gratitude from Mayor for their work during pandemic
  • Plan for up to 9,500 fans for Czech Republic group clash if Covid restrictions lifted on June 21
  • Renowned artist JR will transform the city with his epic black and white portraits to celebrate competition.
  • The Fan Zone will operate a zero tolerance, ‘one strike and you’re out’ policy towards racism and other forms of discrimination

I predict there will be tens of thousands of angry Scotsmen.

So What Has Sadiq Khan Got To Say?

The Times has these two paragraphs.

The mayor’s office urged Scottish fans without tickets to stay at home. A spokesman for Khan said: “It is not possible to hold a fan zone for Scottish fans in London due to the Covid restrictions . . . fans should only travel to the capital if they have a ticket or a safe place to watch the match.”

A source close to the mayor added: “We would have liked to put up a zone for Scottish fans and increased capacity at Trafalgar Square but the licence from Westminster [council] required social distancing so we could not do more. Central government would also have needed to make an exemption to allow it to happen but they have not.”

Typically, Khan seems to be blaming everybody except himself.

 

 

 

 

 

June 15, 2021 Posted by | Sport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Did These Strawberries Have Road- Or Rail-Miles?

These strawberries were grown my M Porter in Perthshire and I bought them in the M & S Simply Food store in Waterloo station.

So did they travel between Perthshire and London, by truck or train?

I think the strawberries came from East Seaton Farm, owned by Lochart and Debbie Porter.

If the strawberries were to be grown any further East, they’d be grown in the middle of the North Sea.

But did they come South, by road or rail?

I suspect it was the former, but there is change in the air! Or do I mean on the rails?

In My First Ride In A Class 769 Train, I talked about Rail Operations Group and their proposed Orion parcels service, that will use Class 769 trains.

This service would surely be ideal to bring strawberries and Arbroath smokies to the South.

 

June 8, 2021 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , , , | 8 Comments

A Class 319 Train, But Not As We Know It!

This article on Rail Advent is entitled COP26 To Showcase Britain’s Sustainable Trains Of The Future Thanks To Network Rail And Porterbrook Partnership.

The article talks about and shows pictures of Porterbrook’s HydroFLEX or Class 799 train, which has been developed by the University of Birmingham, fitted out for COP26.

I have downloaded this picture of the interior from Network Rail’s media centre.

Who’d have thought a Class 319 train could look so grand?

But then some Class 319 trains used by commuters don’t look their age of over thirty years.

These pictures were taken on the Abbey Line in 2018.

There’s also this BBC Profile and video of the technology behind the HydroFLEX train.

Conclusion

It looks like Network Rail and Porterbrook are doing their best to showcase the best that Britain and Scotland can offer.

I am reminded of a tale, that I heard from a former GEC manager.

He was involved in selling one of GEC’s Air Traffic Control radars to a Middle Eastern country.

The only working installation of the radar was at Prestwick in Scotland, so he arranged that the dignitaries and the sales team would be flown to Prestwick in GEC’s HS 125 business jet.

As they disembarked at Prestwick and walked to the terminal, the pilot called the GEC Manager over.

The pilot told him “The Scottish Highlands at this time of the year, are one of the most beautiful places in the world! Would you and your guests like a low-level tour on the way back? I can arrange it, if you say so!”

Despite knowing GEC’s draconian attitude to cost control he said yes.

The sale was clinched!

Are Network Rail, Porterbrook, the UK and Scottish Governments, setting up the same Scottish treatment to all the delegates to COP26?

 

June 6, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport, World | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Albannach Island: Multi-Million Pound Green Energy Plans Would Create 300 Construction Jobs

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Aberdeen Press and Journal.

This is the introductory paragraphs.

A multi-million pound green energy power venture – called Albannach Island – would give a much-needed jobs boost to Caithness.

Highview Power is behind the plans to build a liquid air energy storage plant in a disused part of a quarry in Spittal, adjoining the most northerly stretch of the A9.

The plant appears to be a 50MW/250 MWh CRYOBattery, that is probably similar in size to the one currently being built by Highview Power at Carrington, near Manchester.

This Google map of the North-East corner of Scotland, shows the location.

Note.

  1. John O’Groats is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The red arrow shows the location of the A & D Sutherland quarry, where the Highview Power’s CRYOBattery will be located.

This second Google map shows the location in more detail.

Note.

  • The A & D Sutherland quarry is in the South-East corner of the map.
  • The CRYOBattery will use five acres at the North of the quarry site.
  • In the North-West corner of the map is the Spittal sub-station.

The Spital sub-station is described like this on the Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks web site.

Spittal is a new electricity convertor station and is part of the £1.1bn Caithness-Moray project which represents the largest investment in the north of Scotland’s electricity network since the hydro development era of the 1950s and is the largest capital investment project undertaken by the SSE Group to date. It is also the largest Living Wage contract ever awarded in the UK, demonstrating SSEN’s strong commitment to ensure all employees working on its sites get a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

It looks like the CRYOBattery will be the cherry on top of the very billion pound cake of the Caithness-Moray Link.

Conclusion

We’ll be seeing more battery installations like this to stabilise power.

Nothing is said in the article, about who is paying for the battery. The only clue is it talks about Highview as a London-based conglomerate.

I wonder, if the company has formed a partnership with one of the energy trusts or a battery site developer.

May 6, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , | 3 Comments

France Passes A Law That Prohibits Domestic Flights, For Trips That Can Be Made By Train In Less Than Two And A Half Hours

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

I actually wonder, if this is something that is almost a complete ban on domestic flights except to islands like Corsica, as with the growth of the TGV network there can’t be many pairs of places in France, where the train takes more than two and a half hours.

I need to go to Pau at some time in the near future.

Pau is actually four and a half hours from Paris. Would most people take the train?

Other distances for comparison include.

  • Biarritz – 4 hours 11 minutes
  • Bordeaux – 2 hours 11 minutes
  • Marseilles – 3 hours 2 minutes
  • Nice – 6 hours
  • Strasbourg – 2 hours

It just shows how big France is.

By comparison in the UK, you can get to the following places in two and a half hours from London.

  • Preston from Euston
  • Hull from Kings Cross
  • Leeds from Kings Cross
  • Northallerton from Kings Cross
  • Exeter St. Davids from Paddington
  • Port Talbot Parkway from Paddington

Other roughly two and a half hour journeys would include.

  • Edinburgh and York
  • Glasgow and Preston
  • Aberdeen and Edinburgh

I would think, that the French have got the limit in their law about right.

Should We Have A Similar Law In The UK?

I have once taken a flight on a scheduled airline in the UK, shorter than London and Edinburgh. That was between London and Newcastle in the 1970s in a Dan-Air Comet 4.

In the last fifty years, four flights to Edinburgh and one to Aberdeen and Belfast, are probably all the domestic flying I’ve done in the UK.

I suspect, it is unlikely, that I will be affected if a similar law to France, were to be enacted in the UK.

There is also an interesting development in the provision of long distance rail services in the UK.

  • East Coast Trains are bringing in a fast, no-frills, one price service on the London and Edinburgh route.
  • Other companies are looking to do the same from London to Blackpool, Cardiff and Stirling.

I feel, that we’ll see some interesting services introduced by rail and ferry companies to compete with airlines.

London Euston And Dublin By Low Carbon Boat Train

Currently, you can get to Dublin from London by train to Holyhead and then a ferry.

  • The non-stop train between London Euston and Holyhead takes just over three and a half hours.
  • Avanti West Coast will be replacing their trains with new faster Class 805 bi-mode trains, which in a few years could be capable of running at up to 140 mph between London Euston and Crewe.
  • Irish Ferries have a fast ferry that goes between Holyhead and Dublin in one hour and forty-nine minutes.

I can see a fast train and ferry service between London Euston and Dublin getting very close to five hours.

It could be quite likely that new technology, faster trains and targeted marketing will reduce the number of internal flights in the UK.

The same forces will probably do the same in several countries, including France.

So do we really need a law?

April 14, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments