The Anonymous Widower

Rail Access To The Port Of Felixstowe

This Google Map shows the Port of Felixstowe.

Note.

  1. Trimley station is at the top edge of the map.
  2. One rail line curves down from Trimley to the Southern side of the Port.
  3. Another rail line connects Trimley to the Northern side of the Port.
  4. A few miles of the route between Trimley and Ipswich, has recently been double-tracked and improved.

I will now describe the important parts of the rail network to and from the Port.

Trimley Station

This Google Map shows Trimley station.

Note.

  1. Trimley station has two platforms. although only the Northern one, which is numbered 1 is in use.
  2. There are two tracks through the station.
  3. There is a footbridge over the tracks.
  4. Most people cross the lines on the level crossing.

The track through Trimley station has been improved and the improved is described in the Wikipedia entry for the Felixstowe Branch Line, where this is said.

In October 2017 final approval was given for a £60.4m project which includes doubling between Trimley station and Grimston Lane foot crossing. Work started on 7 April 2018 and was predicted to end in Autumn 2019.[29] However, the work was completed by May 2019 and saw changes to the infrastructure at Trimley station where trains from the Felixstowe direction could now access the disused platform road and the establishment of a double track as far as a new junction called Gun Lane Junction just over a mile west of Trimley station. Both lines can be worked bi-directionally and with the increase in freight traffic that resulted from the additional capacity a number of level crossings were either abolished or upgraded to improve safety.

This Google Map shows the section of line, that has now been dualed.

Note.

  1. Grimston Lane is the triangle of roads in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Trimley station is in the South-East corner of the map.

This Google Map shows the track layout East of Trimley station.

Note.

  1. Trimley station is at the top of the map.
  2. There is a junction to the South-East of Trimley station.
  3. The Northern track goes straight on to Felixstowe station and the Southern Terminal at the Port of Felixstowe.
  4. The Southern track curves South to the North Terminal at the Port of Felixstowe.
  5. Both branches are single track.

It would appear that all trains going to and from the South Terminal at the Port, take the Northern track through Trimley station and those going to and from the North Terminal at the Port, take the Southern track.

Southern Access To The Port

This Google Map shows how the trains go between Trimley station and the Southern entry to the Port.

Note.

  1. Felixstowe station is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The single track from Trimley station splits into two in the North West corner of the map.
  3. One branch allows an hourly service between Ipswich and Felixstowe stations.
  4. The second branch goes South to the Port.
  5. The junction used to be a full triangular junction to allow trains to go between the two Felixstowe stations.

Do the residents of some houses in Felixstowe, get plagued by noise, pollution, smell and the diesel smoke of Class 66 locomotives going to and from the Southern access to the Port?

Felixstowe Beach Station

There used to be a Felixstowe Beach station on the railway to the Port.

This Google Map shows the location.

The station was to the North-East of the level crossing.

These pictures show the area as it was a year or so ago.

Is there a need for a new Felixstowe Beach station to allow workers and visitors to the Port to avoid the crowded roads?

Future Passenger Services Between Ipswich and Felixstowe

The passenger service between Ipswich and Felixstowe has for many years been a bine of contention between the Port of Felixstowe and passenger train operators.

The Port would like to see the passenger service discontinued, so that they could run more freight trains.

However, to increase both freight and passenger capacity, the East-West Rail consortium has proposed running a tram-train between Felixstowe and Ipswich.

  • It would run through the streets of Ipswich to the forecourt of Ipswich station.
  • It would serve important points in Ipswich, like the Hospital, Town Centre and Portman Road.
  • It would have a frequency of four trains per hour (tph).

I wrote about the proposal in Could There Be A Tram-Train Between Ipswich And Felixstowe?

The Southern area of Felixstowe, along the beach is run down and needs improvement.

So why not run the tram-train all the way along the sea-front to Landguard Point?

This Google Map shows Landguard Point.

A tram-train going to Landguard Point would do the following.

  • Provide a direct passenger rail service between the Port and Ipswich.
  • Provide access to the Harwich ferry.
  • Improve the economic prospects of the Southern part of Felixstowe.
  • Bring visitors to the beach without using their cars.

But the main thing it would do is create decent access to the historic Landguard Fort.

Landguard Fort was the site of the last invasion of the UK, when the Dutch were repelled on the 2nd of July 1667, at the Battle of Landguard Fort.

The Southern Terminal At The Port Of Felixstowe

This Google Map shows the Southern terminal of the Port.

This second Google Map shows where the rail line enters the Southern terminal.

Note how the rail link enters in the North-East corner of the and curves towards the quays before it splits into two.

One branch goes straight on, past some sidings and gives a connection to the Trinity Terminal.

The second branch turns South to several sidings.

This Google Map shows these sidings.

Note that the sidings are towards the right of the image and run North-South.

Northern Access To The Port

This Google Map shows the route taken by the rail access to the Trinity Terminal.

Note.

  1. The route branches off South just to the East of Trimley station.
  2. It curves its way South to the South-West corner of the map, where it enters the Port.
  3. It is single track.

This second Google Map shows where it enters the Port.

Note.

  1. The track enters from the North-West corner of the map.
  2. It then splits into two branches.
  3. One branch goes West to the Trinity Terminal.
  4. The second branch goes South into a set of sidings.

It looks to be a well-designed access, to the Felixstowe Branch Line at Trimley station.

The Trinity Terminal At The Port Of Felixstowe

This Google Map shows the Trinity terminal.

Note the rail sidings and the link to the East, which links to the previous map.

This Google Map shows the rail sidings in detail.

I hope the pictures give a clear impression of the size of the port, which in the next few years will probably need more trains to the rest of the country.

There is also a yard that appears to be connected to both the North and South train entrances to the Port.

This yard is shown in this Google Map.

Note, the cranes to lift containers on and off.

Electrification In The Port

Note that there is no electrification in the Port or on the access links from Trimley station.

I once spent half-an-hour with a fellow Ipswich supporter before an away match. He turned out to be a crane driver at the Port of Felixstowe and we got to talking about why the trains weren’t electrified.

He told me that accidents to happen and that you you don’t want high voltage wires about, when you’re swinging containers on and off trains.

Especially, when the trains are close together, as they are in the previous image.

Class 73 Locomotives And The Port Of Felixstowe

The first Class 73 locomotives have now been ordered by Rail Operations Group (UK), and I wrote about the order in Trimode Class 93 Locomotives Ordered By Rail Operations (UK).

What surprised me about the order was that it was for thirty locomotives, whereas only ten were talked about two years ago. I know, that Rail Operations (UK) have received a big capital injection, as was reported in this article on Rail Advent, which is entitled Rail Operations Group Acquired By STAR Capital Partnership. but they must have ambitious plans for thirty locomotives.

Could it be that the specification of these locomotives is geared to operating out of ports like Felixstowe?

Consider.

  • A locomotive probably needs a self-powdered capability to take a heavy train in or out of the Port of Felixstowe.
  • Would a Class 73 locomotive have sufficient range and power to take the average train out of the port using bi-mode diesel and battery power until it arrived at the electrification of the Great Eastern Main Line?
  • How would these locomotives handle a gap like Haughley Junction and Ely?
  • A Class 73 locomotive could probably handle these container trains at 100 mph to and from London on the Great Eastern Main Line, which would keep them out of the way of Greater Anglia’s express trains.
  • What speed would these locomotives be able to achieve under electric power on the West Coast and East Coast Main Lines?
  • The two single-track access links between Trimley station and the Port could be electrified to charge the batteries both ways and to accelerate the train fast out of the Port.

I also feel that other ports would benefit.

Conclusion

I very much feel, that the specification of the Class 93 locomotive with its trimode capability is ideal for working to and from ports and freight terminals.

 

 

 

 

January 15, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The New Trimley Freight Loop And Trimley Station

Felixstowe Port is the UK’s largest container port and it generates a lot of freight traffic on the Felixstowe Branch Line.

So a 1.4 km. loop is being added to the line at Trimley to enable more freight trains to enter and leave the port.

I took these pictures as I went to and from Trimley station.

This Google Map shows the section of line, that will effectively be doubled.

I do have a few thoughts on various issues.

How Many Extra Freight Trains Will Be Possible?

This page on the Network Rail web site, is entitled Felixstowe Branch Line Works To Unlock More Freight And More Reliable Passenger Services.

This is said.

The work on the branch line in this area will support up to 10 additional trains in each direction to move goods to and from the Port of Felixstowe.

I assume the frequency is in trains per day.

I would assume that with careful scheduling of the freight trains, one train per hour (tph) will be able to move reliably to and from each of the two rail freight terminals at the Port.

There are certainly upwards of thirty scheduled trains per day to and from the Port at the present time, so another ten will obviously need the ability to run two tph both ways for most of the day.

Is The Loop Long Enough?

Network Rail are working towards the UK network being able to handle freight trains up to a maximum length of 775 metres.

At a length of 1.4 km, the loop may not be long enough to accommodate two maximum length trains, if perhaps something goes wrong on the Great Eastern Main Line, like a track or signalling failure.

I would hope Network Rail have done their track planning!

Passenger Services

The Network Rail web page implies that passenger services will be more reliable.

So how would a freight loop improve passenger services?

I suspect that just as the number of freight paths each way will be a reliable two in every hour, the number of passenger paths will also be doubled.

The second path in the hour would be useful for two reasons.

  • If say there was a train or signalling failure, then the service can be recovered once the fault is fixed using the second path.
  • If demand on the branch were to increase substantially or a boost was needed for a special event, Greater Anglia could put on a second service.

Greater Anglia have ordered 38 Class 755 trains and they will be running direct routes to five destinations from Ipswich, so I suspect the operator could station a spare train at Ipswich to deal with disruptions, like the inevitable level crossing accidents that happen in East Anglia.

Will The Felixstowe Branch Line Ever Be Electrified?

This picture is from the Network Rail web page.

It illustrates why ports are not keen to electrify.

Containers do get dropped and a single mistake by a crane driver or the controlling automation could shut the rail terminal.

Class 66 locomotives may be an environmental disaster, but they are an affordable and reliable locomotive for ports and freight operators.

New locomotive types like the Class 88 locomotive are being ordered, which could work a port without electrification and change to and from electrification at a safe distance outside the port. The Class 88 locomotives can even do this at line speed.

There would also be no point in electrifying the Felixstowe branch line without electrifying the route all the way between Felixstowe and Nuneaton, which is the route a lot of freight trains take.

I think it is more likely, that innovative locomotive engineers will design a locomotive capable of pulling the longest trains on electricity or diesel, efficiently across the country. After all, using large environmentally unfriendly diesel locomotives is not a problem confined to the UK, so there are millions to be made, by designing the right locomotive for today.

 

July 10, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment