The Anonymous Widower

How Much Electrification Will There Be In The TransPennine Route Upgrade?

My visit to Mirfield station which I wrote about in Mirfield Station – 16th December 2021, has prompted me to write this post.

This document on the Network Rail web site, which is entitled Transpennine Route Upgrade , says this about the Huddersfield to Westtown (Dewsbury) section of the project.

Throughout this eight-mile section of the route, we’re proposing to double the number of tracks from two-to-four, electrify from Huddersfield to Dewsbury and make big improvements to the four stations in this section – Huddersfield, Deighton, Mirfield and Ravensthorpe; where we also need to separate the lines going to/from Leeds from the lines going to/from Wakefield, with either a bridge or a tunnel.

This map of the lines was clipped from this article on Modern Railways, shows the proposed track layout.

Note.

  1. The fast lines are shown in pink.
  2. The slow lines are shown in blue.
  3. Huddersfield and Dewsbury stations are eight miles apart and trains typically take ten minutes.
  4. All fast trains stop at Huddersfield.
  5. The intermediate stations between Huddersfield and Dewsbury are all on the slow lines.

There will only two tracks West of Huddersfield and East of Dewsbury.

This would very much appear to be a layout built for speed.

These are my thoughts.

The Fastest Run Between Dewsbury And Huddersfield

There will be eight miles of electrified fast line between Dewsbury And Huddersfield and the time will depend on the following.

  • The operating speed of the new fast lines.
  • How long it takes the trains to accelerate to and decelerate from the operating speed.
  • The distance travelled during acceleration and deceleration.

This page on the Eversholt Rail web site, has a data sheet for a Class 802 train, which are used by TransPennine Express and is a bi-mode AT-300 train with three diesel engines.

The data sheet shows that a five-car train can accelerate to 125 mph and then decelerate to a stop in six minutes in electric mode.

A rough estimate gives a distance of 6.25 miles to accelerate and decelerate, so a train will only be at 125 mph for 1.75 miles, which would take 50 seconds.

As trains currently take ten minutes between Huddersfield and Dewsbury, it looks like a saving of three minutes is possible.

This saving could be increased if the trains were able to accelerate and decelerate faster or high speed running were to be possible further towards Leeds.

Will Between Leeds And Dewsbury Be Electrified?

It is likely, that the nine miles of double-track line between Dewsbury and Leeds will be electrified, as this would mean the following.

  • TransPennine Express’s Class 802 trains could use electricity all the way between Leeds and Huddersfield.
  • Electrification would allow the fast trains to accelerate and decelerate at a maximum rate to and from operating speed, whilst in the new section.
  • Electrification would also allow stopping trains to perform their stops on the double-track section to the East of Dewsbury faster.

Timetabling is going to be a challenge.

Will The Slow Lines Between Dewsbury and Huddersfield Be Electrified?

I feel it would be sensible to electrify the slow lines as this would help to make operation simpler and possibly allow stopping services to be run by electric or battery-electric trains.

Battery-Electric Trains Between Huddersfield And Castleford

The current service is as follows.

  • It is 21 miles long
  • It has a frequency of one train per hour (tph)
  • Intermediate stations are Deighton, Mirfield and Wakefield Kirkgate.
  • Services seem to take around forty minutes.
  • After the completion of the TransPennine Upgrade, all but fifteen miles at the Castleford end of the route, will be electrified.

It looks to me that a battery-electric train with a range of about thirty miles could handle this route.

Battery-Electric Trains Between Wigan And Leeds

The current service is as follows.

  • It is 68 miles long
  • It has a frequency of one train per hour (tph)
  • Intermediate stations are Daisy Hill, Atherton, Walkden, Salford Crescent, Salford Central, Manchester Victoria, Rochdale, Smithy Bridge, Littleborough, Walsden, Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Sowerby Bridge, Brighouse, Mirfield, Dewsbury, Morley and Cottingley
  • Services seem to take around two hours and nine minutes.
  • After the completion of the TransPennine Upgrade, the 12.2 mile section to the East of Mirfield station will be electrified.
  • Electrification is also planned at the Wigan end of the line and this would electrify the 17.7 mile section between Wigan and Manchester Victoria stations.
  • This would leave an electrification gap of 38.1 miles

It looks to me that a battery-electric train with a range of about forty miles could handle this route.

Battery-Electric Trains Between Leeds And Huddersfield

The current service is as follows.

  • It is 28 miles long
  • It has a frequency of one train per hour (tph)
  • Intermediate stations are Bramley, New Pudsey, Bradford Interchange, Low Moor, Halifax and Brighouse.
  • After the completion of the TransPennine Upgrade, Huddersfield station will be electrified.
  • Under the Integrated Rail Plan for the North And Midlands, it is planned to electrify between Leeds and Bradford Interchange stations.
  • This would leave an electrification gap of 18.6 miles

It looks to me that a battery-electric train with a range of about twenty-five miles could handle this route.

Conclusion

By electrifying all the lines in the TransPennine Upgrade, it would allow all the stopping and slower services to be run by battery-electric trains.

This Hitachi infographic shows the specification of the Hitachi Regional Battery Train.

Note that a range on batteries of 90 km is 56 miles.

This train would work all three routes.

I also suspect that CAF’s proposed battery train will have a similar range.

December 21, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Alternative Rail Connections For Bradford After IRP Snub

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on New Civil Engineer.

This is the first paragraph.

Of all the losers from the Integrated Rail Plan (IRP), Bradford is arguably the biggest.

I agree! But then Bradford is a very difficult problem.

The article talks about several solutions.

These are probably the best of a rather mixed and downright impractical bunch.

The big problem with Bradford Interchange station is that it is a terminal and not a through station. Through trains between say Leeds and Halifax or Huddersfield have to reverse in the station, which slows the services down by up to five minutes.

Currently the following local services call at Bradford Interchange station.

  • Blackpool North and York
  • Chester and Leeds
  • Halifax and Hull
  • Huddersfield and Leeds
  • Manchester Victoria and Leeds

Note.

  1. All services have a frequency of one tph.
  2. All trains are diesel-powered.
  3. All services reverse in Bradford Interchange station.
  4. Platforms 1 and 2 can accommodate five-car Class 180 trains, which are 120 metres long.

This Google Map shows Bradford Interchange station.

Note.

  1. Platforms 1 and 2 are the longer pair of platforms to the West.
  2. Platform 3 and 4 can probably handle a four-car train.
  3. I suspect that if necessary platforms could be lengthened so they could all take a five-car Class 802 train, which is 130 metres long.

In Would Automated Trains With The Ability To Run Backwards Improve Passenger Train Services?, I proposed providing sufficient automation and signalling improvements, so that drivers could drive the train from either cab.

This would make the reverse at Bradford Interchange station take as long as a normal stop, without any reduction in safety.

If this could be made to work efficiently, it must open up the possibility of a Leeds and Manchester Airport service.

  • It would call at Bradford Interchange, Low Moor, Halifax, Brighouse and Huddersfield.
  • It would satisfy Bradford’s need of a direct service to Manchester Airport.
  • It would improve getting to the airport for Low Moor, Halifax and Brighouse.

There would be no need for large amounts of new or modified infrastructure.

 

December 21, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stalybridge Station – 16th December 2021

In my meandering along the TransPennine Route brought me to Stalybridge station.

This Google Map shows the station.

As the pictures and the maps show, there is space at Stalybridge station.

Timings Between Manchester Victoria And Huddersfield

There are these trains between Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Scarborough – stops at Stalybridge
  • Manchester Airport and Redcar Central
  • Liverpool Lime Street and Edinburgh
  • Manchester Airport and Newcastle.

That is four trains per hour (tph) between Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield.

  • They take around 9-14 minutes between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge.
  • They take around 31-32 minutes between Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield.
  • As Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge is 7.7 miles, the average speed on this section is 33-51 mph
  • As Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield is 25.7 miles, the average speed on this section is 48-50 mph

In this Transport for the North report , which is entitled At A Glance – Northern Powerhouse Rail, an objective of twenty-five minutes is given for Manchester and Leeds.

One possible way to achieve this time stated in the report is stated as.

Diggle upgrades akin to a new line.

Diggle is between Greenfield station and the Standedge tunnels.

Assuming a constant average speed between Manchester Victoria and Leeds, the twenty-minutes objective for this route means a timing of fifteen minutes between Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield.

I estimate that this would need an average speed of well over 100 mph to get anywhere near the required fifteen minutes.

But by rebuilding the line between Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield to High Speed Two construction standards, it appears to be possible.

Timings Between Manchester Piccadilly And Huddersfield

There are these trains between Manchester Piccadilly and Huddersfield.

  • Manchester Piccadilly and Huddersfield – stops at Stalybridge, Mossley, Greenfield, Marsden and Slaithwaite.
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Hull – stops at Stalybridge

That is two tph between Manchester Piccadilly and Huddersfield.

The direct train is a few minutes slower, but the stopping train is nearly ten minutes slower.

I feel some time improvements will be possible, but the Manchester Victoria services will probably be faster.

Conclusion

It is possible, there could be a unique high speed line between Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield through the Victorian tunnels at Standedge.

  • One possibility, I can see is to have two fast tracks for the main TransPennine expresses and a third bi-directional third-track to accommodate the stopping services.
  • The double track express route could probably handle six tph, as the only stops between Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield is two tph that stop at Stalybridge.
  • Operating speeds on the fast tracks could be up to perhaps 160 mph on slab track.
  • All trains stop at Huddersfield.
  • A single bi-directional track between Stalybridge and Huddersfield could easily handle two tph.

There would be engineering challenges, but I feel it would be possible.

December 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Greenfield Station – 16th December 2021

Greenfield station is the nearest station to the West of the Standedge tunnels. In my meanderings between Middlesbrough and Mirfield, I went to have a look.

As the pictures show, this is a modern station with its own pub and an excellent cafe on the other side of the road.

But the access to the Huddersfield-bound platform is not step-free.

This Google Map shows the station.

It is a cramped site, but the road didn’t appear to be very busy.

Could A High Speed Line Go Through Greenfield Station?

As I said it is a cramped site, but if the platform by the road were to be made bi-directional, the station would be converted into a two train per hour (tph) step-free station.

This is possible as has been shown on the Borders Railway at Galashiels station.

Look at this picture taken from the bridge.

I feel that by removing the second platform and rebuilding the retaining wall and the road bridge, that two 125 mph tracks could be squeezed through.

Step-Free Access

If after two high speed lines through, will it be possible to have full step-free access?

It will certainly be the same for both directions, but what will the access be like between platform and train?

The picture shows a train in the current Huddersfield-bound platform.

It is not bad, but it could be better, as has been demonstrated at the recently-opened Soham station.

But with only one class of train calling in the station it could be a lot better.

The Station Brew Cafe

I had a late breakfast at the Station Brew Cafe opposite the station.

Excellent! And gluten-free too!

Note the small cup, which I assumed they used to microwave the beans.

Conclusion

It would be difficult but not impossible engineering to squeeze a high speed line through Greenfield station.

December 18, 2021 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Marsden Station – 16th December 2021

On my meanderings yesterday I visited Marsden station, which has been suggested that it could be the Eastern end of a high speed route to Manchester and Liverpool.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. The station has three platforms. but trains seem to only use the two Northern platform.
  2. Access to the platforms is up and down dreadful iron stairs.
  3. There is a new housing development by the station.

The station needs improvement.

Could A High Speed Line Go Through Marsden Station?

Having looked at the station, I wouldn’t be surprised if Network Rail have a plan to put two fast and one or possibly two slow tracks through this station.

My preference would be to run 125 mph or faster trains on the current pair of Northern lines and create a new station on a single bi-directional line or a pair of lines to the South.

  • Trains on the fast line wouldn’t stop.
  • There would be a capacity of two trains per hour (tph) in both directions through the station.

It might even be possible to extend high speed running to Slaithwaite station. I didn’t visit that station, but from the Wikipedia entry, I didn’t seem to miss much.

 

This Google Map shows Slaithwaite station.

After the station, the tracks would merge into two tracks to go the 4.5 miles to Huddersfield, where all trains appear to stop.

Step-Free Access

If after two high speed lines through, will it be possible to have full step-free access?

It will certainly be the same for both directions, but what will the access be like between platform and train?

 

The picture shows a train in the current Huddersfield-bound platform.

It is not bad, but it could be better, as has been demonstrated at the recently-opened Soham station.

But with only one class of train calling in the station it could be a lot better.

Conclusion

I believe two high speed tracks can be built through Marsden station.

 

 

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

Mirfield Station – 16th December 2021

To get the Grand Central Trains’s service back to London, I had to travel to Mirfield station. As the ticket was just £11.85, it was probably worth it.

I took these pictures of the station.

Note.

  1. The station has an unusual layout with a main island platform, where Eastbound trains call and a separate platform for Westbound trains.
  2. The platform can take a six-car train.
  3. Facilities are just a rudimentary shelter and a train information board.
  4. There is a lot of promotion for Mirfield in Bloom.
  5. Access to the station is up a staircase from the road under the station.

I took shelter in the nearby Navigation Tavern, which was a welcoming pub with lots of beer and food.

These pictures show the underpass and the pub.

This Google Map shows the station and the area.

Note.

  1. The wide island platform marked with the station symbol.
  2. Station Road running under the railway.
  3. The Navigation Tavern between the canal and the railway.

All this is going to change.

With the TransPennine Upgrade, the station will be turned into a modern station.

This diagram clipped from this article on Modern Railways shows the current layout at Mirfield station.

And this shows the future layout.

Note.

  1. The wide platform will serve both slow lines and all trains stopping at Mirfield station.
  2. Two fast lines will be created in the space to the South of the current platform.
  3. I would assume that the fast lines will be electrified with a much higher speed limit.
  4. Will the slow lines be electrified or will battery-electric power be used?
  5. There is certainly space on the island platform for some much better facilities.

I also think, that the station can be rebuilt without disrupting services.

Conclusion

As Roy Brooks, who was an infamous estate agent in London in the 1960s, would have said, this is a station with potential.

 

 

December 17, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments