The Anonymous Widower

Does Anybody Know Of A Covid Travel Consultancy?

There are a few places in Europe, that I’d like to go for a couple of days.

I can book all the train tickets and hotels myself, but what I would like is someone to review my route for a fee and send me a pack of all the things I need to do and take.

Countries, I would like to visit include France, Germany, Hungary and The Netherlands.

January 19, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 4 Comments

More Train Companies Are Advertising Now

At the end of October, I posted Hull Trains Are Mounting A Big Advertising Campaign.

Today LNER are also advertising in The Times and these follow other companies like Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway, Grand Central and Great Western Railway.

It looks like the Hull Trains campaign must have been successful.

January 2, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More ICE Sprinters Offer Alternative To Flying

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

The first two paragraphs, give an overview of the changes being made.

Deutsche Bahn introduced more limited-stop Sprinter ICE services on long-distance inter-city routes with the timetable change on December 12.

Sprinter-branded ICE services now operate on eight domestic routes, while a daily Frankfurt am Main – Paris service calling at Mannheim and Karlsruhe also carries the branding. Intended to appeal to business travellers, many of the Sprinter services are timed to depart early in the morning with return trips in the evening. This ensures a full day at the destination and offers a viable alternative to domestic flights.

It would appears that these services now have trains that are under the acceptable four hours.

  • Cologne and Berlin
  • Cologne and Munich
  • Hamburg and Frankfurt Airport

If Deutsche Bahn are serious about competing with the airlines, they must surely increase the frequency.

In 2018, I travelled between Berlin and Munich in under four hours and wrote about it in From Berlin To Munich In Four Hours By Train.

This is how I started that post.

The length of the East Coast Main Line between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh is 632 kilometres.

Deutsche Bahn have recently completed an upgraded High Speed Line between Berlin and Munich, which has a length of 623 kilometres.

Both lines are not the very fastest of High Speed Lines, but lines where a consistent two hundred kilometres per hour is possible.

The East Coast Main Line was built in Victorian times and services typically take around twenty minutes over four hours, with nine -car InterCity 225 trains running twice an hour.

The Berlin-Munich route was originally built over two centuries ago, but the Germans have spent twenty-five years and many billions of euros punching a new route between Berlin and Nuremberg, through the difficult countryside of Thuringen Forest.

The route may allow the Germans to travel from Berlin to Munich in three hours fifty-five minutes, but at present you can only do it three times a day in a six-car train.

I took the lunchtime train and sat in First Class for a hundred and fourteen euros.

Deutsche Bahn have increased the trains on this route to five trains per day, but compared to London and Edinburgh on LNER, it is too infrequent, expensive with questionable customer service and not enough seats to give the airlines a run for their money.

A quick look on Rail Europe indicates that these routes have fast services at an hourly frequency or better.

  • Madrid and Barcelona
  • Milan and Rome
  • Paris and Bordeaux
  • Paris and Cologne
  • Paris and Marseilles
  • Venice and Naples

German rail services might be getting better, but not fast enough to take on the airlines.

 

December 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 9 Comments

Calcutta Cup By Lumo

According to Scottish Rugby, the Culcutta Cup between Scotland and England next year is at Murrayfield on the 5th of February 2022.

I have just looked up services that day on Lumo’s web site.

  • It would be possible to travel North on the 05:45 train, which arrives in Edinburgh at 10:06.
  • After the match, there is a train South at 17:56, which arrives back in London at 22:29.
  • Tickets are available at £45.50 both ways.

As Lumo could probably run both services with ten-car trains, that hold eight hundred passengers, this could earn ticket revenue for Lumo of £72,800.

October 28, 2021 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

RENFE Aims To Compete With Eurostar On Paris – London Route

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

There are a lot of issues in this article and there does seem to be a degree of rivalry between French and Spanish rail operators.

In From Madrid To London, I describe a journey by train from Madrid to London via Barcelona and Paris.

These three paragraphs were the end of that post.

I finally arrived in London at 18:30 or just thirteen hours forty minutes after leaving Madrid.

This journey will get quicker, as for quite a way along the south coast of France, the trains don’t run on high speed lines. I can’t find any references to the distances on the journey, although Madrid to Barcelona and Paris to London are given as 621 and 495 kilometres respectively. Map Crow gives the Barcelona to Paris distance at 831 kilometres. I know this isn’t accurate and is probably a bit short, but that gives a total of 1947 kilometres, so my journey was at an average speed of 142 kmh. This compares with an average speed of 200 and 220 kmh on the first and last legs from Madrid to Barcelona and Paris to London respectively.

If the centre section was capable of an end-to-end average of 200 kmh, then a time from Madrid to London of under ten hours should be possible, especially if it was one train all the way.

I suspect that the ultimate aim of RENFE is to run a direct Madrid and London service.

  • It would go via Barcelona, Perpignan, Lyon and Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy.
  • It would bypass Paris to the East.
  • It would serve Charles de Gaulle Airport and Disneyland Paris.
  • A sub-thirteen hour journey would certainly be possible with the existing infrastructure.

Note.

  1. There would be lots of opportunities to split the journey.
  2. Travellers regularly fly thirteen hours around the world. C and myself have done it with three kids in steerage.

My statement in the earlier post was ambitious and relied on building a new LGV across the South of France.

Conclusion

It could be an interesting way to travel between London and Spain.

October 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Birth Of The East West Main Line

Today, the East West Rail Consortium has changed its name to the East West Main Line Partnership.

The home page on the new web site, is emblazoned with this headline.

Championing The Ambition For East West Rail

This mission statement is then given.

The East West Main Line Partnership (previously the East West Rail Consortium) is led by local authorities and works closely with sub-national transport bodies, LEPs, government and its agencies to realise the vision for an East West Main Line.

It is followed by six main areas of interest.

Delivery Of Oxford-Cambridge

The Partnership will continue to work with government and the East West Railway Company to support delivery of Oxford-Cambridge (including Aylesbury-Milton Keynes) at the earliest opportunity.

Read More.

Coast-To-Coast Connectivity

For East West Rail to realise its full potential, direct services must extend beyond Oxford-Cambridge. Its potential should truly be ‘coast to coast’ – from Norfolk and Suffolk to Bristol and South Wales.

Read More.

North-South Connectivity

It is important to recognise that East West Rail is not just about improving east-west connectivity: it is integral to improving connectivity across the country.

Read More.

Interchange And Strategic Transport Hubs

The East West Main Line’s potential to connect to services on other main lines is significant. Frictionless interchange is required for onward rail journeys and to other modes.

Read More.

A 21st Century Main Line

The East West Main Line should reflect the 21st century communities it serves. It must be an exemplar for its high-quality standards of design, construction and operation.

Read More.

Freight

Greater use of rail for freight and logistics provides additional resilience for the business community, while also supporting the need to achieve net zero.

Read More.

Conclusion

It has to be remembered that the original driving force for the East West Rail Consortium was Ipswich Borough Council.

This new direction is a bold vision and it has the spirit of East Anglia written all over it.

Related Posts

Freight On The East West Main Line

Route Map Of The East West Main Line

October 7, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 5 Comments

Pop Up Metro Aims To Provide Affordable Passenger Operation

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Trains News Wire.

It describes entrepreneur Henry Posner’s Railroad Development Corporation‘s concept of a Pop-Up Metro and how it is being demonstrated in Rockhill, Pennsylvania, where it is being demonstrated at the Rockhill Trolley Museum.

Routes suggested in the article include.

Not all these routes are fully electrified.

There is some interesting ideas in the concept.

The female project manager is also quoted as saying

I found that if you just say yes to Henry, something interesting happens!

Little did I think, that these days, I’d see that said in a serious article.

Let’s hope that represents the can-do approach behind the design, but staying within the rules of safety.

 

October 2, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The London And Edinburgh Travel Market

This paragraph comes from of this article on Railway Gazette.

Lumo is aiming to carry more than 1 million passengers per year. It is particularly targeting people who currently fly between Edinburgh and London; in June it says there were 74 764 air journeys on the route, compared to 82 002 by rail.

Lumo’s million passengers per year, will equate to around 83,300 passengers per month.

What these figures don’t show is the number of rail journeys made to intermediate stations like Newcastle, York, Doncaster and Peterborough.

These are a few thoughts.

Rail Capacity Between London And Edinburgh

Consider.

  • LNER is currently the only rail carrier offering a daytime service between London and Edinburgh.
  • LNER run approximately 26 trains per day (tpd) in both directions between London and Edinburgh.
  • A nine-car Class 801 train can carry 510 Standard Class passengers and 101 First Class passengers.

That means that LNER had a capacity of just over 950,000 seats in June.

It might seem poor to have only sold 82,002 seats in June between London and Edinburgh, which is just 8.6 % of the available seats.

On the other hand, LNER’s two trains per hour (tph) are a lot more than London and Edinburgh trains, as they connect towns and cities all the way up the East Coast Main Line between London and Aberdeen.

Lumo’s capacity of a million seats per year, works out at 83,300 seats per month, which is another 8.7 % of capacity.

  • Lumo will sell seats on price initially and I suspect they’ll end up running about 85-95 % full.
  • It has been stated that they need to run 80% full to break even.
  • I also think, that they would like to have a few seats for late bookers.

But even so, they will surely affect LNER’s bookings.

What Will LNER Do?

Several of the things, that Lumo are doing can be easily copied by LNER.

  • Early booking.
  • Improve onboard service.
  • Better seating.

They could even reduce prices.

I think it is very likely we could end up with a price and service war between LNER and Lumo.

Would The Airlines Be The Losers?

This could be an outcome of competition between LNER and Lumo.

We are now talking about times of around four hours and twenty-five minutes between London and Edinburgh, but there are improvements underway on the East Coast Main Line.

  • The remodelling of the approach to Kings Cross station has not been reflected in the timetables.
  • The Werrington Dive Under has not been completed yet.
  • Digital signalling is being installed South of Doncaster.
  • The power supply is being upgraded North of Newcastle.

When these and other improvements are complete, I can see journey times reduced below four hours.

But would that only be for starters?great b

If a 1970s-technology Intercity 225 train, admittedly running as a shortened train formation, could achieve a time of just under three-and-a-half hours for the 393.2 miles between Kings Cross and Edinburgh stations in September 1991, what could a modern Hitachi train do, if all of the improvements had been completed and perhaps half of the route could be run at 140 mph under the watchful eyes of full digital signalling and an experienced driver.

Consider.

  • London and York is nearly two hundred miles of fairly straight railway, that is ideal for high speed.
  • Current trains run the 393.2 miles in four hours 25 minutes, which is an average speed of 89 mph.
  • A train running at 89 mph would take two hours and fifteen minutes to cover 200 miles.
  • A train running at 125 mph would take one hour and thirty-six minutes to cover 200 miles.
  • A train running at 140 mph would take one hour and twenty-six minutes to cover 200 miles.

When Network Rail, Great British Railways or the Prime Minister renames the East Coast Main Line as High Speed East Coast, I think we can be sure that trains between London and Edinburgh will be able to achieve three-and-a-half hours between the two capitals.

High Speed Two is only promising three hours and forty-eight minutes.

What About LNER’s New Trains?

LNER Seeks 10 More Bi-Modes, was written to explore the possibilities suggested by a short article in the December 2020 Edition of Modern Railways.

There has been no sign of any order being placed, but Hitachi have moved on.

  • They are building the prototype of the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery for testing on the Great Western Railway.
  • They have completed some of the Class 803 trains for East Coast Trains, which has now been renamed Lumo. These trains have a battery for hotel power in case of catenary failure, but no diesel engines.
  • They are building the Class 807 trains for Avanti West Coast, which appear to be designed for high speed and have no batteries or diesel engines.
  • The latest versions of the trains will have a reshaped nose. Is it more aerodynamic at high speeds?

It does seem that there is an emphasis on speed, better acceleration and efficiency.

  • Could the lessons learned be used to improve the performance of the existing trains?
  • Could a small high performance sub-fleet be created to run LNER’s Scottish services?

There are certainly possibilities, that would cut journey times between London and Edinburgh.

Conclusion

I can see the airlines flying between London and Edinburgh suffering a lot of collateral damage, as the two train companies slug it out.

 

September 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The East Coast Main Line And The A14

I finally managed to get pictures of the new route of the A14 as it crosses over the East Coast Main Line.

This Google Map shows the crossing from above.

I do wonder, why in the 1990s, when they created the A14, they didn’t do a proper job?

But then history shows that Governments don’t seem to get East-West links in the UK right.

  • Road and rail links across the Pennines are inadequate.
  • Only recently have Edinburgh and Glasgow been properly connected by rail.
  • The electrification of the Great Western Railway between London and Swansea has been an on-off project, that should have been done after electrification of the East Coast Main Line, before the team of engineers had been disbanded.
  • Road and rail links to the port of Holyhead were ignored for years and could be improved again.
  • The Varsity Line between Oxford and Cambridge was recommended by Beeching to be kept, but Harold Wilson closed it and now we are recreating it.

Is it because none of these routes are of much importance for politicians and civil servants living in London?

September 9, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Connecting East Lincolnshire

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

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

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

The two ways are.

Reopening the East Lincolnshire Railway

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

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

Note.

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

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

An Express Interurban Bus Alternative

The study describes this option like this.

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

One of their suggestions is to extend Thameslink to Spalding.

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