The Anonymous Widower

Beeching Reversal – Sheaf Valley Stations

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

Stations To Be Rebuilt

As you approach Sheffield station, you pass four station sites, three of which are demolished and the fourth is just a shadow of its former self.

Dore & Totley

Dean & Totley station used to have four platforms and this Google Map, shows what is left after British Rail’s vandalism in the mid-1980s.

Note.

  1. The station has only one platform.
  2. The single track in the platform handles all trains to and from the Hope Valley Line.
  3. At present it appears to be two trains per hour (tph) in both directions.
  4. The two tracks at the right are the Midland Main Line.

Transport for the North wants to run four tph between Manchester Piccadilly and Sheffield through here, that will take forty minutes between the two cities.

Updates planned for the station include.

  • A second platform for Manchester-bound trains.
  • A new bridge with lifts.
  • Platforms long enough to take a pair of Class 185 trains or a five-car Class 802 train.
  • A full hourly service.

There certainly seems to be enough space for another platform and track through the middle of the station.

At some point in the near future, the two Midland Main Line tracks will be electrified, as part of the upgrade for High Speed Two.

Between Dore & Totley And Beauchief

This Google Map shows a typical section of the line between Dore & Totley and Beauchief stations.

Note the two Midland Main Line tracks on the right and single-track to the Hope Valley Line on the left.

It would appear that the fourth track can be squeezed in between the single track and the Midland Main Line.

Beauchief

Beauchief station used to have four platforms before it was demolished.

This Google Map shows the station’s former location.

Note.

  1. The building with the red dot is the former Beauchief Hotel. which was by the station.
  2. On a larger screen you can see three tracks going into Sheffield.

I’m fairly certain that four tracks and two platforms for a station can be fitted into this narrow trackbed.

Millhouses & Eccleshall

Millhouses and Eccleshall station used to have four platforms before it was demolished.

This Google Map shows the station’s former location.

Note.

  1. Wikipedia says the station was accessed from the Archer Road bridge, which is in the South East corner of the map.
  2. It looks like there are three tracks with space for four.
  3. The road to the North-West of the railway is called Old Station Road.

As at Beauchief, it will be tight.

Heeley

Heeley station used to have four platforms before it was demolished.

This Google Map shows the station’s former location.

Note.

  1. The red arrow indicates Heeley Bridge, which Wikipedia says is near the station site.
  2. There appears to be only two tracks through here.

It is easy to follow the tracks from here to Sheffield station.

Could A Four Track Railway Be Rebuilt Between Dore & Totley And Sheffield Stations?

I’ve not seen anything that says that building a four-track railway through here is not possible.

In a few years, there could be the following tracks and platforms, on this section.

  • Two fast tracks for High Speed Two, Midland Main Line and CrossCountry trains, that will be electrified with 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • The High Speed Two trains will be classic-compatible and up to 200 metres long.
  • The two fast tracks will not have any platforms.
  • Two slow tracks for local services, that will be appropriately electrified.
  • The slow tracks will have step-free platforms, that will be long enough to take a five-car Class 802 train or a pair of Class 185 trains.

I can’t for the life of me understand, why this stretch of four-track main line between Dore & Totley and Sheffield stations was ever simplified, as at other places on the UK network, extra tracks were being added to the main lines, at the same time.

Future Services On The Fast Lines

Currently, the following services take the fast lines between Sheffield and Chesterfield stations via Dore & Totley station.

  • East Midlands Railway – Sheffield and London St. Pancras – 2 tph
  • East Midlands Railway – Sheffield and Norwich via Nottingham – 1 tph
  • CrossCountry – Edinburgh/Newcastle and Derby/Birmingham and the South – 2 tph
  • Northern – Sheffield and Nottingham – 1 tph

That is a very modest six tph.

High Speed Two are currently planning to run two tph between Sheffield and London Euston.

There may or may not be other changes.

  • As Birmingham Curzon Street and Sheffield will be just forty-seven minutes by High Speed Two all the way, will these destinations have a direct high speed classic-compatible service? There’s plenty of space capacity on High Speed Two.
  • I don’t think the Sheffield and St. Pancras services will be dropped, but they might be.
  • CrossCountry will probably be running intelligent multi-mode trains capable of 125 mph running and up to 140 mph in places.
  • Northern’s service between Sheffield and Nottingham might go via a reopened Barrow Hill Line.

But the biggest change will be that these two fast lines will be to High Speed Two standards.

  • Sheffield and Chesterfield will be electrified.
  • There will in-cab digital signalling, which theoretically could probably allow eighteen tph on the route.
  • High Speed Two Trains between Sheffield and Chesterfield will take twelve minutes.
  • Sheffield station will have been modified as required, to be able to handle all trains very efficiently.

But it would still be carrying a modest eight tph.

If required Sheffield would have the capacity to accept more trains from the South.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see, the following trains added.

  • An extra tph to and from London Euston via High Speed Two.
  • Two tph to and from Birmingham Curzon Street via High Speed Two.

I also wouldn’t be surprised to see CrossCountry using classic-compatible High Speed Two trains and switching to High Speed Two between Birmingham New Street and Sheffield. But these trains would still use the same tracks to access Sheffield station.

But I am led to the conclusion, that Sheffield will have more than enough capacity linking the City to Chesterfield and the South.

Future Services On The Slow Lines

Or should I use lines connecting to the Hope Valley Line rather than slow lines?

Currently, the following services take the slow lines between Sheffield and  Dore & Totley stations.

  • East Midlands Railway – Liverpool Lime Street and Sheffield – via Manchester Piccadilly – 1 tph
  • TransPennine Express – Manchester Airport and Cleethorpes via Manchester Piccadilly – 1 tph
  • Northern – Sheffield and Manchester Piccadilly – 1 tph

 

Transport for the North aims to run a four tph service with a forty minute journey time between Manchester Piccadilly and Sheffield.

Consider.

  • 100 mph TransPennine Express trains take fifty-three minutes between Sheffield and Manchester Piccadilly without a stop.
  • Classic-compatible trains with a battery capability could easily handle the route.
  • Northern’s services on the Hope Valley Line are timed for 75 mph trains.
  • Dore & Totley and Hazel Grove stations are twenty-nine miles apart.

If between Dore & Totley and Sheffield stations were to be electrified and track improvements like passing loops were to be made to the Hope Valley Line, I believe that to achieve a forty minute all-stops timing between Sheffield and Manchester Piccadilly, would need a train with the following specification.

  • Electric train with batteries.
  • Four cars
  • 100 mph or faster operating speed.
  • Step-free access between platform and train.
  • Sparkling acceleration and deceleration.
  • Ability to run under in-cab digital signalling to keep out of the way of freight services.

Looking at Crossrail between London Paddington and Maidenhead stations, the London route is probably as difficult as the Hope Valley Line and it has been designed as a forty minute service with ten stops, using a modern electric train.

If TransPennine fitted batteries to their Class 802 trains, these trains would fit the Northern Powerhouse Rail requirements.

East Midlands Railway and Northern would find that the following trains could be used.

  • Bombardier – Aventra with batteries
  • Bombardier – Class 377 train with batteries
  • Bombardier – Class 379 train with batteries
  • CAF – Class 331 train with batteries
  • Hitachi – Class 385 train with batteries
  • Porterbrook – Battery/FLEX train based on Class 350 train
  • Stadler – Flirt with batteries

All would need that between Dore & Totley and Sheffield stations be electrified.

After the upgrades and the new or refurbished trains are running, this would mean that between Dean & Totley and Sheffield would be handling four tph, which would be semi-fast trains between Sheffield and Manchester Piccadilly. Although to current passengers on the line, they would seem to be fast services of a much higher standard.

It would not be very different to how the slow lines into Paddington also handle about four tph of other services, including GWR services and freight.

I believe that to provide an adequate service to the reopened and rebuilt stations of Dore & Totley, Beauchief, Millhouses & Eccleshall and Heeley, that a Turn-Up-And-Go service of at least four tph should be run between Dore & Totley and Sheffield stations.

A Turnback At Dore & Totley

This Google Map shows Dore & Totley station and the area to the South.

Note.

  1. There would appear to be a lot of space between the Midland Main Line and the single track, that leads between Dore & Totley station and the Hope Valley Line.
  2. Flying my helicopter, as low as I dare, it looks like the area is either a rubbish dump or very low grade businesses.
  3. Crossrail has designed turnbacks at Abbey Wood and Paddington stations, that will handle twelve tph.

I believe that it would be possible to design a turnback at Dore & Totley station, that would handle eight trains per hour, if not twelve tph.

It might even be possible to squeeze in some overnight stabling.

Trains Or Tram-Trains Between Dore & Totley And Sheffield Stations

In my view, it doesn’t matter.

Crossrail’s 12 tph turnbacks can handle a 205 metre long Class 345 train, so I’m sure a well-designed turnback at Dore & Totley could handle a mixture of any trams or tram-trains below a defined maximum length of say 140 metres, which would be defined by a pair of Class 185 trains, which might have to be turned back during service disruption.

Where Would The Services Terminate in The East?

It is my view that cross-city services like Birmingham’s Cross-City Line, Liverpool’s Northern Line, London’s Crossrail and Thameslink, Newcastle’s Metro and Paris’s RER are efficient for both passengers and train operators.

So Dore & Totley station could be one end of a Sheffield cross-city line, with a frequency of at least eight tph through Beauchief, Millhouses & Eccleshall, Heeley and Sheffield stations.

So where would services go on the other side of Sheffield? Wikipedia gives these as services to the East of Sheffield.

  • Leeds via Barnsley and Wakefield (fast) – 2 tph
  • Leeds via Meadowhall, Barnsley, Wakefield and Castleford (stopping). – 1 tph
  • Leeds via Meadowhall, Moorthorpe and Wakefield. – 1 tph
  • Scarborough via Meadowhall, Doncaster, Hull and Bridlington. – 1 tph
  • Lincoln Central via Worksop and Retford – 1 tph
  • Gainsborough Central via Worksop, three trains per week continue to Cleethorpes via Brigg. – 1 tph
  • Huddersfield via Meadowhall, Barnsley and Penistone – 1 tph
  • Doncaster via Meadowhall and Rotherham, with one train per hour continuing to Adwick – 2 tph
  • York via Moorthorpe and Sherburn-in-Elmet. – 3 trains per day (tpd)

For much of the day, that is a frequency of 10 tph, with 5 tph calling at Meadowhall, 2 tph calling at Worksop and two fast tph passing Meadowhall without stopping.

But there are other rail projects under development.

I can see classic-compatible High Speed Two trains serving the following places to the East of Sheffield.

  • Leeds
  • Hull via Doncaster
  • Scarborough via York
  • Cleethorpes via Doncaster, Scunthorpe and Grimsby.

A train like a five-car Class 802 train would probably be enough for most routes except Leeds.

I can see the following terminals for tram-trains to the East of Sheffield.

  • Doncaster and Doncaster-Sheffield Airport
  • Waverley station, which could be on a loop from the Sheffield and Lincoln Line.
  • Barnsley Dearne Valley

There may well be others.

If Sheffield were Karlsruhe in Germany, the tram-trains would probably serve the following routes.

  • Huddersfield via Penistone.
  • Lincoln via Worksop and Gainsborough.
  • Manchester via the Hope Valley Line.

But the Germans have a much larger electrified core, than Sheffield will have, even if High Speed Two electrifies between Dore & Totley and Thurnscoe stations via Sheffield.

I can make a table of destinations and distances and how they could be served.

  • Barnsley – 16 miles – Possible return trip from Sheffield for a battery electric train.
  • Barnsley Dearne Valley – 8 miles from Rotherham Parkgate – Possible return trip from Sheffield via Rotherham Parkgate for a battery electric tram-train.
  • Doncaster – 11 miles from Rotherham Parkgate – Possible return trip from Sheffield via Rotherham Parkgate for a battery electric tram-train.
  • Chesterfield via Barrow Hill – 17 miles – Possible return trip from Sheffield for a battery electric tram-train.
  • Doncaster Sheffield Airport – 10 miles from Doncaster – Possible return trip from Sheffield via Rotherham Parkgate and Doncaster for a battery electric tram-train.
  • Gainsborough Lea Road. – 32 miles – See Lincoln Central.
  • Huddersfield – 36 miles – Possible battery electric train with charging at Huddersfield.
  • Hull – 59 miles – Possible battery electric train with charging at Doncaster and Hull.
  • Lincoln Central – 48 miles – Possible battery electric train with charging at Lincoln and/or Gainsborough Lea Road. Otherwise diesel.
  • Penistone – 23 miles – Possible return trip from Sheffield for a battery electric train, using Newton’s friend on the way back.
  • Retford – 23 miles – Possible return trip from Sheffield for a battery electric train.
  • Waverley – About 6 miles – Possible return trip from Sheffield for a battery electric tram-train.
  • Worksop – 16 miles – Possible return trip from Sheffield for a battery electric train.

It looks to me like a mix of battery electric trains and tram-trains could run most of the services from Sheffield, if services that used new High Speed Two infrastructure used classic-compatible trains or trains like the existing Class 802 trains, that have been converted to battery electric operation.

Note.

  1. I am assuming, that a battery electric train has  a range of 56 miles on a single charge.
  2. Rotherham Parkgate station is changed to a through station.
  3. Tram-trains passing through Doncaster can recharge on the station’s 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  4. Charging can be provided as required at other stations.

There are lots of possibilities.

Consider, this for tram-train extensions to Barnsley Dearne Valley, Doncaster and Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

  • Extend the tram-train service at Rotherham Parkgate to either Doncaster and Doncaster Airport or Barnsley Dearne Valley stations.
  • Run tram-trains between Dore & Totley and Rotherham Parkgate via Sheffield, Meadowhall and Rotherham Central.

This would give a double-ended route across Sheffield and Rotherham between Dore & Totley and the existing Supertram network in the West and Barnsley Dearne Valley, Doncaster and Doncaster Sheffield Airport in the East.

Consider how to connect the branch to Waverley station to the Supertram network.

  • Waverley station will be either on or on a loop from the Sheffield and Lincoln Line.
  • The Sheffield and Lincoln Line has no obvious connection with the Supertram network.
  • The Sheffield and Lincoln Line goes straight in to Sheffield station.
  • Trains to Lincoln always appear to use Platform 4 in Sheffield station.
  • Sheffield station has four through platforms.

This Google Map shows where the Sheffield and Lincoln Line passes behind the Supertram Depot at Nunnery.

Note.

  1. The Nunnery Square Park and Ride is in the South West corner of the map.
  2. The Supertram depot is to the East of the Park-and-Ride, with the Nunnery Square tram stop to the South.
  3. The Woodbourn Road tram stop is in the North East corner of the map.

This second Google Map shows the lines around the Park-and-Ride.

I suspect that a connection between the Supertram system and the Sheffield and Lincoln Line, could be built to the North of the Nunnery Depot.

But would it be easier to continue to Sheffield station or pass through the station and terminate at Dore & Totley station?

I can’t be sure looking at the maps, but it could be logical that trains to and from Lincoln use the Southern pair of tracks past the Nunnery Depot, as they would be on the right side of the tracks for Lincoln.

This would make it easier to do the following.

  • Create a connection between the Nunnery Depot and the Sheffield and Lincoln Line, which would surely be needed for efficient maintenance and operation of tram-trains running to and from Waverley.
  • Allow tram-trains used to serve the proposed Waverley station to return to the Depot every night.
  • Allow tram-trains working between Sheffield and Meadowhall to use the Lincoln and Sheffield Line to enter the Nunnery Depot.
  • Build a tram stop/station by the Park-and-Ride.

There would also be less need to build another depot.

Looking at the maps, could there be space to extend the Nunnery Depot?

Conclusion

This could be a very good project.

  • It fits in well with the plans and needs of High Speed Two.
  • It connects the new Waverley station to Sheffield station.
  • It fits well with the Sheffield Region Transport Plan 2019.
  • It connects Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster to Doncaster Sheffield Airport.
  • It opens up the Hope Valley Line to improve services between Manchester and Sheffield.

I also don’t think, there’s any great risk!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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July 12, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Reinstatement Of The Barrow Hill Line Between Sheffield And Chesterfield

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

The Route

This Google Map shows where the Barrow Hill Line starts at Tapton Junction near Chesterfield station.

Note.

  1. Chesterfield station is less than a mile to the South.
  2. The left railway going North is the Midland Main Line to Sheffield
  3. The right railway going North is the Barrow Hill Line.

The Barrow Hill Line turns slightly to the East and this Google Map shows it passing through Barrow Hill, which gives the route its name.

Note.

The historic Barrow Hill Roundhouse and some rail-related businesses to the North of the line.

There used to be a station here called Barrow Hill! What a surprise!

The Wikipedia entry for Barrow Hill station has a section called Modern Traffic, where this is said.

At 22 June 2013 the line is part of the Midland Main Line. It is used predominantly for freight, with a handful of passenger trains going the “long way round” from Chesterfield to Sheffield via the Old Road and Darnall largely to retain staff route knowledge in case of diversions.

The Wikipedia entry for the station also has a section called Possible Future, which is worth a read, as it lists other mothballed rail lines in the area, that could be developed.

Follow the Barrow Hill Line to the North-East and it goes through a mix of agricultural land, industrial dereliction, modern factories and nature reserves before it splits near Beighton.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  1. The rail lines splitting by the Rother Valley Country Park at Beighton Junction.
  2. Barrow Hill is to the South.
  3. There used to be a station at Beighton.
  4. Woodhouse station is in the North West corner of the map.
  5. Woodhouse station is on the Sheffield-Lincoln Line, which can be seen crossing the area.
  6. Trains taking the left fork at Beighton Junction can go to Sheffield via Woodhouse and Darnall stations.
  7. Trains taking the right fork go under the Sheffield-Lincoln line and have connections to a large number of destinations for both freight and passengers.

It looks to me, that it is proposed to convert this long-way round route, into a second route between Sheffield and Chesterfield.

  • Stations exist at Woodhouse and Darnall.
  • Stations used to exist at Barrow Hill, Eckington & Renishaw, Killamarsh West  and Beighton.
  • The route would surely be very useful, when the Midland Main Line route between Sheffield and Chesterfield is updated for High Speed Two.
  • The route might also be very useful for East Midlands Railway to develop services to Rotherham and other places to the East of Sheffield.
  • I’ve found a train that takes this route between Chesterfield and Sheffield and with no stops it took twenty-five minutes.
  • Typically, the direct route takes about eleven minutes.

I can see several possibilities for local, regional and national services using the Barrow Hill Line.

I have a few questions.

Would The Barrow Hill Line Be Electrified?

It has been stated that High Speed Two and the Midland Main Line will share an electrified corridor from Clay Cross North Junction to Sheffield via Chesterfield.

  • So as both stations will be electrified, it would not be any problem to rustle up a good electricity supply to power an electrified Barrow Hill Route.
  • Electrification might narrow the fourteen minute difference between the routes.
  • Electrification would allow East Midlands Railway‘s new Class 810 trains to have a second electrified route into Sheffield.
  • Is there a case for a service between London and the South of England and the South and East of Sheffield?

I think electrification of the Barrow Hill Line is more than a possibility.

Would Gauge-Clearance For Electrification Be Difficult?

As the route is already cleared for freight trains with the largest containers, it won’t be as difficult as some routes.

Could Tram-Trains Be Used Between Sheffield And Chesterfield On The Barrow Hill Line?

In Sheffield Region Transport Plan 2019 – A New Tram-Train Route To A New Station At Waverley, I talked about a plan by the Sheffield Region for a new tram-train route between Sheffield station and a new housing district of Waverley on the Sheffield-Lincoln Line.

  • Waverley is between Darnall and Woodhouse stations.
  • The new Advanced Manufacturing Park would also be served.
  • Tram-trains could venture further down the Sheffield-Lincoln Line, if that was so desired.

If tram-trains were used on the Barrow Hill Line, between Sheffield and Chesterfield, both routes would share the track between Sheffield and Darnall stations.

Note that tram-trains would be able to share tracks with all electric trains used around Sheffield, including freight trains and the Class 810 trains.

Note that the stations for tram-trains can be much simpler and even share platforms with full-size trains.

The pictures show Class 399 tram-trains at Rotherham Parkgate and Rotherham Central stations.

  • I feel with innovative design, the whole route between Sheffield and Chesterfield could be run using tram-trains.
  • The route could be electrified with 25 KVAC overhead wires.
  • Instead of taking the Sheffield fork at Beighton Junction, the tram-trains could also take the right fork and link Chesterfield with Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Swinton.
  • These tram-trains also come with batteries, if that is needed.

Barnsley, Chesterfield, Rotherham and Sheffield could be getting a lot of better connectivity and the Barrow Hill Line is key.

Conclusion

This looks to be a very sensible project.

  • It could be run with either trains or tram-trams.
  • It should be electrified, so could be zero-carbon.
  • Tram-trains could be used to make stations simpler.
  • It could give an alternative route for electric trains to Sheffield station.
  • The track is already there and regularly used.

But surely the biggest reason to built it, is that it appears to open up a lot of South and South-East Sheffield and North-East Chesterfield for development.

 

May 25, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Northern Cities And COVID-19

If you look at the official Government statistics for the total number of cases of COVID-19, as of May 3rd, the number of cases in the two major cities in the North West as follows.

  • Leeds – 1463 out of a city population of 789,194 (0.18%) and a metro population of 2,638,127 (0.05%)
  • Liverpool – 1454 out of a city population of 494,814 (0.29%) and a metro population of 2,241,000 (0.06%)
  • Manchester – 1154 out of a city population of 547,627 (0.21%) and a metro population of 3,748,274 (0.03%)
  • Newcastle – 939 out of a city population of 300,196 (0.31%) and a metro population of 1,650,000 (0.06%)
  • Nottingham – 537 out of a city population of 321,500 (0.17%) and a metro population of 1,610,000 (0.03%)
  • Sheffield – 2191 out of a city population of 582,506 (0.38%) and a metro population of 1,569,000 (0.14%)

Note.

  1. All populations come from Wikipedia.
  2. Why is Liverpool 40% worse than Manchester?
  3. Why is Sheffield the worst?

I will add a few smaller towns andcities.

  • Blackpool – 465 out of an urban population of 139,720 (0.33%)
  • Caldervale – 252 out of an urban population of 200,100 (0.13%)
  • Hull – 469 out of a city population of 260,645 (0.18%)
  • Middlesbrough – 566 out of an urban population of 174,700 (0.32%)
  • Stoke-on-Trent – 509 out of a city population of 255,833 (0.20%)
  • York – 315 out of a city population of 209,893 (0.15%)

I’d like to see full statistics plotted on a map or a scatter diagram.

The latter is a very powerful way to plot data and often they highlight data points that lie outside the underlying pattern of the data.

May 4, 2020 Posted by | Health, World | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Funding Award to Supply An 8MW Electrolyser

The title of this post, is the same as that of this Press Release from ITM Power.

This is the main body of the Press Release.

ITM Power, the energy storage and clean fuel company, is pleased to announce it has signed an agreement to supply an 8MW electrolyser in the UK.  The agreement, including associated project costs, has a total value of £10m and funding will fall across FY2021 and FY2022.  Further details will be announced in due course.

I bet they’re pleased!

To get a hold on what 8 MW looks like, these Class 90 locomotive each have a power output of just under 4 MW and are capable of hauling an eight-coach express train at 110 mph.

Working at full rate, the electrolyser will be able in a year to convert 70 GWh of electricity into hydrogen.

Why Would You Want An 8MW Electrolyser?

These are a few ideas.

Green Hydrogen For Humberside

This is a project described in this ITM Power Press Release.

This is the first three paragraphs.

ITM Power, the energy storage and clean fuel company, is pleased to announce that it has won, with partner Element Energy, a first stage deployment project in the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund competition “Decarbonisation of Industrial Clusters” to assess the feasibility and scope of deploying green hydrogen with some major industrial partners in Humberside.

“Green Hydrogen for Humberside” will lead to the production of renewable hydrogen at the Gigawatt (GW) scale distributed to a mix of industrial energy users in Immingham, Humberside. Decarbonisation of this cluster is critical in reaching the UK’s legally binding 2050 net zero emission targets. Humberside, the UK’s largest cluster by industrial emissions, (12.4Mt of CO2 per year), contributes £18bn to the national economy each year and has access to a large renewable resource from offshore wind in the North Sea.

The project will work with customers in the region to establish the feasibility of switching to renewable hydrogen and justify a number of 100MW deployments of electrolysers. The project will cost the supply of hydrogen to these end users. This includes the electricity supply to the electrolyser, the hydrogen production facility, hydrogen distribution across the Humber and conversion of existing processes to use renewable hydrogen.

The study talks about a number of 100 MW deployments of electrolysers.

Will the 8MW electrolyser be a demonstrator for this project?

To Convert Surplus Renewable Energy Into Hydrogen Which Is Injected Into The Gas Grid

The Wikipedia entry for ITM Power has a section entitled Energy Storage Power To Gas. This is the first paragraph.

Power-to-Gas is a methodology of introducing such hydrogen to the natural gas network, essentially converting renewable electrical power to a clean gas that can be more conveniently stored using existing assets. There are two main Power-to-Gas mechanisms. The first involves metering pressurised hydrogen into the gas network directly. The second involves combining hydrogen with carbon dioxide via a methanation process to produce synthetic natural gas prior to introduction to the grid.

The electrolyser could be used to convert a lot of electricity into zero-carbon hydrogen for use in the UK gas network.

Improving The Resilience Of The UK Gas Network

This article on the BBC is entitled Major Power Failure Affects Homes And Transport and it describes a major power failure, when two generators failed in August 2019.

Could the 8MW electrolyser be part of the solution to make the UK power network more robust, if parts of the network fail?

To Create Feedstock For An Oil Refinery Or Petro-Chemical Plant

Hydrogen can be used as a feedstock for an oil refinery or petro-chemical plant.

This ITM Power Press Release, describes such a project, where wind power from the North Sea is used to create hydrogen for Phillips 66 Limited’s Humber Refinery.

As Part Of An Experimental Steel-Making Plant

This is pure speculation on my part, but steel-making creates lot of carbon-dioxide.

I do believe that using hydrogen to make steel is possible and ITM Power are based in the steel-city of Sheffield.

On the other hand look at the HYBRIT web site.

This is the introductory paragraph.

In 2016, SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall joined forces to create HYBRIT – an initiative that endeavors to revolutionize steel-making. HYBRIT aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for ore-based steel making, with hydrogen. The result will be the world’s first fossil-free steel-making technology, with virtually no carbon footprint.

During 2018, work started on the construction of a pilot plant for fossil-free steel production in Luleå, Sweden. The goal is to have a solution for fossil-free steel by 2035. If successful, HYBRIT means that together we can reduce Sweden’s CO2 emissions by 10% and Finland’s by 7%.

This page on their web site is entitled Steel Making Today And Tomorrow. This image compares traditional blast furnace steelmaking with HYBRIT.

Note that at the heart of the process is the production of hydrogen from renewable electricity. This process will need a large electrolyser.

 

Could someone be doing something similar in Sheffield or more likely, Scunthorpe?

  • British Steel may be owned by the Chinese, but it has a record of innovation.
  • We will need a lot of long steel products, like railway rails and girders, in which British Steel specialise.
  • In a few years, Humberside will have enough renewable electricity from North Sea wind to create an electro-magnetic gun to fire space capsules at Mars.

I will be watching out for hydrogen steelmaking.

Is Jim Ratcliffe Up To Something?

Jim Ratcliffe is a very rich man and the chairman and CEO  of INEOS, which has a turnover of $83billion.

Consider.

  • INEOS must know about hydrogen.
  • I read some years ago, how they were using waste hydrogen to generate electricity on Teesside.
  • I have a feeling that they have backed a hydrogen fuel-cell company.
  • They own the hydrogen factory in Runcorn, where I worked in 1970.
  • They have extensive interests in the North West, North East and Scotland.
  • The company probably has an enormous carbon-footprint, that they’d probably like to reduce, by perhaps using hydrogen instead of natural gas as a feedstock for some processes, like production of ammonia.

But above all the cost of an 8MW electrolyser would be small change and probably cost a lot less, than running the cycling team.

The Fallback

It could of course be used to produce a large amount of hydrogen to power buses, cars and trains.

May 3, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized, World | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Wrong Kind Of Bleach?

This article on Railnews is entitled 9 September: News In Brief.

It has the following sub-title.

Wrong Bleach Took Caledonian Sleepers Out Of Service

This is the first sentence.

Cleabers who used the wrong specification of bleach in the toilets and shower rooms on Caledonian Sleepers caused significant damage after the chemicals reacted with stainless steel pipes,

To my knowledge stainless steel, especially when it contains increased levels of chromium and some molybdenum, can be very proof to attack from most substances.

Look at this Butler Shba cutlery made in Sheffield from stainless steel with black Delrin plastic handles, which have seen continuous use in my household for fifty years.

Now that’s what I call stainless steel!

Perhaps, the Spanish used the wrong type of stainless steel?

Delrin is a form of polyoxymethylene, which is an engineering plastic.

This plastic has a wide spectrum of usage, including in zips, bagpipes and metered dose inhalers, to name just three of hundreds.

September 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

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

The Current Service

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

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

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

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

These are fastest times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Electrified High Speed Line South Of Kettering

Midland Main Line services South of Kettering are as follows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are there enough passengers to fill all these trains?

Does St. Pancras Have Enough Capacity?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Better Access To The Midland Main Line Platforms

Consider.

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

Improving the current access will be very difficult.

This Google Map shows the Northern End of the station.

Note.

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

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

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

Underground Improvements

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crossrail 2

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

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

Consider.

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

Would it take the pressure off St. Pancras?

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

Could Some Midland Main Line Services Use Thameslink?

Consider.

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

It might work!

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

Splitting And Joining Trains

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

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

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

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

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

Shorter trains must have advantages on some routes.

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

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

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

Extended Services To And From The North And East

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

Serving Barnsley, South Yorkshire And Leeds

Consider.

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

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

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

Advantages could include.

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

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

Serving Lincolnshire And Nottinghamshire

Consider.

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

Sheffield Region Transport Plan 2019 – Hope Valley Line Improvements

The improvements to the Hope Valley Line are listed under Plans in the Wikipedia entry for the line.

This is said.

Network Rail, in partnership with South Yorkshire ITA, will redouble the track between Dore Station Junction and Dore West Junction, at an estimated cost of £15 million. This costing is based on four additional vehicles in traffic to deliver the option, however, this will depend on vehicle allocation through the DfT rolling stock plan. This work will be programmed, subject to funding, in conjunction with signalling renewals in the Dore/Totley Tunnel area.

Other proposals include a loop in the Bamford area, in order to fit in an all-day (07:00–19:00) hourly Manchester–Sheffield via New Mills Central stopping service, by extending an existing Manchester–New Mills Central service. Planning permission for this was granted in February 2018.

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.

So what does that all mean?

All of the stations mentioned like Dore & Totley, Bamford are at the Sheffield end of the Hope Valley Line, where it joins the Midland Main Line.

This map, which was clipped from Wikipedia, shows the lines and the stations.

Note.

  1. The Midland Main Line runs South to North and West is upwards
  2. Dore West Junction is close to the Eastern end of Totley Tunnel.
  3. The Hope Valley Line is double track from Dore West Junction to the West.
  4. The Midland Main Line is double-track.
  5. Dore & Totley station is on a single-track chord, between Dore West Junction and Dore Station Junction.
  6. Another single-track chord connects Dore West Junction and Dore South Junction on the Midland Main Line.

I’ll now cover each part of the work in seperate sections.

Dore Junction And Dpre & Totley Station

This Google Map shows the area of Dore & Totley station and the triangular junction.

Note.

  1. Dore & Totley station is at the North of the map.
  2. The Midland Main Line goes down the Eastern side of the triangular junction.
  3. The Hope Valley Line goes West from Dore West Junction.
  4. The Midland Main Line goes South from Dore South Junction.

Network Rail’s plan would appear to do the following.

  • Create a double-track between Dore Station Junction and Dore West Junction, through the Dore & Totley station.
  • Add a second platform and a footbridge with lifts to the station.

Instead of a single-track line handling traffic in both directions, there will be a double-track railway with a track in each direction.

Capacity will have been increased.

In some ways Network Rail are only returning the station to how it existed in the past, so it shouldn’t be the most difficult of projects. But many of this type of project have surprises, so I’ll see it when the new station opens.

The Bamford Loop

On this page on the Friends of Dore & Totley Station web site, this is said about the Bamford Loop.

A Bamford Loop which is a place to halt frieight trains to allow passenger trains to overtake. This is east of Bamford station.

It is around a thousand metres long.

Flying my helicopter between Bamford and Heathersage stations, the track appears almost straight and adding a loop shouldn’t be that difficult.

The only problem is that there is a level crossing for a footpath at Heathersage West.

This will be replaced by a footbridge.

Benefits

The page on the Friends of Dore & Totley Station gives the main benefits of the scheme are to :-

  • Increase the number of fast trains from 2 to 3 per hour
  • Increase the stopping trains from 1 every 2 hours to 1 per hour
  • To provide for 3 freight trains every two hours as at present.
  • Allow trains of up to 6 cars to use the route
  • Accommodate longer freight trains
  • Improve reliability on the route

These seem to be fairly worthwhile benefits from a relatively simple scheme

 

July 22, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Ambitious Transport Plans Unveiled For Sheffield Region

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

I will split the points made in the article into separate posts.

I have also been helped by this report published by the Sheffield City Region.

 

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

Sheffield Region Transport Plan 2019 – A New Station At Barnsley Dearne Valley

This station will be to the East of Barnsley in the vicinity of the village of Goldthorpe.

In Changes Signalled For HS2 Route In North, I used this map of the proposed High Speed Two and Northern Powerhoiuse routes in East Yorkshire.

Note, these points about High Speed Two.

  1. It by-passes Sheffield and Barnsley and enters Leeds from the East, via Junction 2.
  2. It goes via Junction 1 to link up with the East Coast Main Line to York, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
  3. It links to the Leeds and Hull route at Junction 1.
  4. It has a Southern route via Chesterfield directly into Sheffield.

The current main route between Sheffield and Leeds is the Wakefield Line.

  • It is thirty nine miles long.
  • It is not electrified, except North of Wakefield Westgate station
  • Trains stop at Meadowhall, Rotherhall Central, Swinton, Bolton-on-Dearne, Goldthorpe, Thurnscoe, Moorthorpe, Fitzwilliam, Sandal & Agbrigg, Wakefield Westgate and Outwood.
  • Services take an hour and thirteen minutes
  • The route is not very busy, with only, a total of around 4-6 trains per hour (tph) in both directions.

The Northern Powerhouse Rail improvements will see four tph between Sheffield and Leeds

  • Journey times will be twenty-eight minutes.
  • Some trains will extend past Sheffield to London St. Pancras.
  • These fast services will probably stop less often.
  • They will probably be backed up by stopping trains at perhaps two tph.
  • I suspect the trains will be 125 mph bi-mode trains with batteries.
  • I doubt there will be full electrification, as train developments will achieve the same objectives, in a more affordable manner.
  • There will be full digital signalling to increase the capacity.

So where does the proposed Barnsley Dearne Valley station fit in?

  • It will be on both the Wakefield Line and High Speed Two.
  • It will have fast local trains between Leeds and Sheffield at four tph.
  • It will have High Speed Two services between London and Leeds via East Midlands Hub at a frequency of at least two tph.
  • It will have High Speed Two services between London and Newcastle via East Midlands Hub and York at a frequency of st least two tph.
  • As I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Turn-Up-And-Go service on major legs of High Speed Two, will Barnsley Dearne Valley have four tph?
  • Stopping trains to and from Sheffield could be at a frequency of four tph and be tram-trains.

The station would be a quality one, with ,lots of parking.

Barnsley would be welcomed to the Twenty-First Century.

I also believe, that the Wakefield Line could be improved, sooner rather than later.

I have flown my virtual helicopter along the route between Rohterham Central and Fitzwilliam stations.

  • It is at least double-track all the way.
  • It would appear to be fairly straight.
  • There is plenty of room on either side, so third and possibly fourth tracks could be added.
  • There are no level crossings and very few bridges.
  • The stations are simple, but could be easily upgraded to full step-free access.
  • Electrification could be a lot easier than some of the TransPennine routes.

So one way to give early benefits could be.

  • Electrify between Sheffield and Fitzwilliam.
  • Improve line speed to at least 100 mph and possibly 110-125 mph.
  • Make all stations step-free.
  • Build the Wakefield Line station at Barnsley Dearne Valley.
  • East Midlands Railway could run two tph between Leeds and Sheffield using 125 mph bi-mode trains, with stops at Barnsley Dearne Valley, Swinton and Rotherham Central.
  • Perhaps one tph could be between Leeds and London.
  • Extend the Sheffield tram-train to Barnsley Dearne Valley.

I don’t think much of the engineering would be difficult and an opening date of 2023 would probably be possible.

The proposal would give these advantages.

  • Twenty-eight minutes journeys between Leeds and Sheffield at a frequency of four tph.
  • One or possible two tph between Leeds and London calling at Barnsley Dearne Valley and Rotherham Central.
  • Extension of Leeds local electric trains to Barnsley Dearne Valley.
  • A four tph tram-train service between Sheffield and Barnsley Dearne Valley.
  • A direct service between Barnsley Dearne Valley and Doncaster is also a possibility.

The idea of a station at Barnsley Dearne Valley is a brilliant idea.

July 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 4 Comments