The Anonymous Widower

HS2 Starts Work On First Pioneering ‘Green Tunnel’

The title of this post is the same as that of this press release on the High Speed Two web site.

These three paragraphs introduce the work at Chipping Warden.

HS2 today [Friday 10th June] announced the start of construction at the site of its first innovative ‘green tunnel’, designed to blend the high speed railway into the landscape and reduce disruption for communities.

Unlike a normal underground tunnel, the one-and-a-half mile (2.5km) Chipping Warden green tunnel in Northamptonshire is being built on the surface using a pioneering off-site manufacturing approach to speed up construction and improve efficiency.

This approach will see more than five thousand giant concrete tunnel segments made in a factory in Derbyshire before being assembled on site. The completed tunnel will then be covered by earth, with trees, shrubs and hedgerows planted to fit in with the surrounding countryside.

Note.

  1. High Speed Two are building five of these tunnels between London and Birmingham.
  2. I know from talking to engineers at Custom House station, which was also built in a factory, that the quality is excellent.
  3. But is it also cheaper and quicker, as all segments on the five tunnels are identical, no expensive tunnel boring machine is required and conventional equipment can be used?

These are some images from High Speed Two, which show the erection of the first segments of the green tunnel.

There is also this video, which shows more about the green tunnels.

I suspect we’re going to see a lot more of these tunnels.

June 13, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

The New Track Layout At Bank And Moorgate Stations

This map from cartometro.com shows the new track layout through Bank And Moorgate.

Note.

  1. Crossrail is shown in purple.
  2. The Central Line is shown in red.
  3. The Circle, Hammersmith and City and the Metropolitan lines are shown in yellow and mauve.
  4. The Circle, District lines are shown in yellow and green stripes.
  5. The Northern Line is shown in black.
  6. The Northern City Line, that terminates at Moorgate is also shown in black.

The routes of the Northern Line are now clear from the map.

The Northbound Route Of The Northern Line

The Northbound trains pass through the following platforms.

  1. The Easternmost platform, which is numbered 4 at Bank station.
  2. The Western Northern Line platform, which is numbered 7 at Moorgate station.

This route of the Northbound tunnel will be identical before and after the works.

The Original Southbound Route Of The Northern Line

Until January this year, the Southbound trains passed through the following platforms.

  1. The Eastern Northern Line platform, which is numbered 8 at Moorgate station.
  2. The original Western Northern Line platform, which was numbered 3 at Bank station.

Note how the Northbound and Southbound tracks cross between the two stations.

The New Southbound Route Of The Northern Line

The new Southbound route is shown dotted on the map.

  • The new Southbound platform is also shown dotted.
  • The Northbound and Southbound tracks still cross between the two stations.

The tracks don’t return to standard left-hand running until South of Borough station.

After the line fully-reopens, some time in May this year, the Southbound trains will pass through the following platforms.

  1. The Eastern Northern Line platform, which is numbered 8 at Moorgate station.
  2. The new Western Northern Line platform at Bank station.

Effectively, the Southbound tunnel has been moved to the West to create more space in Bank station.

Conclusion

The design of the new tunnel appears simple, but I don’t think it was that easy to construct.

 

 

April 28, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Final Tunnelling Gets Underway On Bank Station Blockade

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Four weeks into the closure of Bank Station for its capacity upgrade, main contractor Dragados is making good progress on all key activities, including final tunnelling works.

This has been traditional tunneling, that would have been familiar to those like the Victorians, where a lot of the digging has been done by hand, with the addition of smaller diggers and power tools.

The project seems to be on schedule for a mid-May opening.

March 2, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

HS2 Reveals Images Of First Landscaped ‘Green Tunnels’ For Bucks And Northants

The title of this post, is the same as this press release from High Speed Two.

This image shows one of the proposed tunnels.

The article explains the design and describes how the tunnels will be built in a factory in Derbyshire and assembled on site.

Off-site concrete construction was used at Custom House station on Crossrail. I wrote about the construction of this station in An Express Station.

The picture shows Custom House station under construction. One of the engineers told me, that the quality of the concrete in the station, is so much better than normal.

January 11, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Walking The Line

A friend asked, if I’d like to accompany her on a walk along the tunnels of the Post Office Railway.

I said yes, went along and took these pictures.

Note.

  1. The tracks are only two-foot gauge.
  2. The trains were driverless and electrically powered.
  3. The two modern trains with the plastic roofs; one of which is red and the other green, are used to take Postal Museum visitors along the tunnels.
  4. The yellow train was painted that colour for its part in the Bruce Willis film; Hudson Hawk.
  5. A large number of the sleepers had plaques on them, indicating their sponsors. The sleeps looked to be nearly all original.
  6. The paintings on the wall show the Twelve Days of Christmas and date from when Christmas parties for children were held in the tunnels.
  7. The tunnels were dug by hand using a Greathead Shield.
  8. There was no evidence of rodents.

It is a unique railway that is well worth a visit.

A few other facts and thoughts.

New Tunnels

Most modern tunnels like Crossrail, High Speed Two and the Thames Tideway are now dug by tunnel boring machines or TBMs. These pictures show Millicent and Ursula preparing to start boring the Thames Tideway.

Not all tunnels though use a TBM. Recently, the new running tunnel at Bank and pedestrian tunnels at Paddington and possibly Moorgate have been dug in the traditional way, but probably with the aid of some of the likes of JCB’s finest.

There was also the innovative way, that Whitechapel station was built, that I described in Coal Mining in Whitechapel.

Tunnel Life Research

This is a paragraph from the Wikipedia entry for the Post Office Railway.

A team from the University of Cambridge has taken over a short, double track section of unused Post Office tunnel near Liverpool Street Station, where a newly built tunnel for Crossrail is situated some two metres beneath. The study is to establish how the original cast-iron lining sections, which are similar to those used for many miles of railway under London, resist possible deformation and soil movement caused by the new works. Digital cameras, fibre optic deformation sensors, laser scanners and other low-cost instruments, reporting in real time, have been installed in the vacated tunnel. As well as providing information about the behaviour of the old construction materials, the scheme can also provide an early warning if the new tunnel bores are creating dangerous soil movement

This is worthwhile research, as there have been some problems with London’s older tunnels.

Building The Paddington Bakerloo Line Link Project

This was done in and around the Paddington end of the Post Office Railway.

There is a link to a professional presentation about this complex project in Paddington Bakerloo Line Link Project, London.

Royal Mail Group assets at Paddington helped in the comstruction of the link.

December 29, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Electrifying Derwent Valley Mills

Under the latest plans the Midland Main Line will be electrified.

One problem is electrifying the line through the World Heritage Site of Derwent Valley Mills.

This Google Map shows the Midland Main Line between Belper and Duffield stations.

Note.

  1. Belper with its station is at the North of the map.
  2. Duffield station is at the South of the map.

In the middle of the map the railway line disappears into Milford Tunnel.

Wikipedia says this about the portals of the tunnel.

Both portals are grade II listed, being part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

I doubt that the Heritage Taliban would allow the tunnel to be electrified, as they wouldn’t want wires near the tunnels.

But between Belper and Duffield stations is only 4.2 kilometres.

This Hitachi infographic shows their Intercity Battery Hybrid Train, which I described in Hitachi Rail And Angel Trains To Create Intercity Battery Hybrid Train On TransPennine Express.

Note that the train can cover gaps of 5 km.

The Class 810 trains, that will be used by East Midlands Railways will have four diesel engines and I’m certain these trains will be able to be retrofitted to be Intercity Battery Hybrid Trains.

The electrification of the line will be discontinuous with no wires between Belper and Duffield stations.

Express trains going between Derby and Sheffield will go through the following procedure.

  • Arrive at Duffield station with a full battery, after using the electrification from Derby and the South.
  • Drop the pantograph in the area of Duffield station and switch to battery power.
  • Proceed through Milford tunnel at an appropriate speed.
  • Once under the electrification again at Belper station, they would raise the pantograph and switch to using the electrification.

The problem of electrification of Milford tunnel in the area of the World Heritage Site has been neatly side-stepped.

 

 

November 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bakerloo Line Extension | TfL Instructs Consultants To Work Up Tunnel Designs

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

This project is the Mayor’s pet, as it is good for those that vote for him in South London.

But I believe that the West London Orbital Railway should have a higher priority as it serves an area that is in massive need of improvement in public transport and can be delivered quickly and for a lot less money.

November 1, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 5 Comments

Waterloo & City line To Operate All Day By The End Of November

The title of this post, is the same as this article on City AM.

Hallelujah!

Here in Hackney, it’s our best route to Waterloo, as we have several buses to Bank. I have two; the 21 and 141.

Let’s hope the Drain continues to work during the Great Blockade in the New Year, whilst the Northern Line is connected to the new tunnel at Bank.

October 29, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Does Anybody Recognise This Tunnel?

Someone sent me this picture and asked if I knew where it was.

I don’t But do I know a man or woman who does?

August 29, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | | 8 Comments

Class 321 Renatus Trains At Wickford And On The Crouch Valley Line

This article on Rail Advent indicated that the platform extension at Wickford station had been completed, so that five-car Class 720 trains can work the Crouch Valley Line.

This morning I went to look at the progress and took these pictures.

Note.

  1. Platform 1 has been extended at the London end.
  2. The two trains working the branch were Class 321 Renatus trains.
  3. The stations on the branch seemed to have been spruced up.

I suspect Greater Anglia are expecting a lot more commuters and visitors.

  • But then the area is getting a lot more housing.
  • There are fast direct trains to and from London Liverpool Street on a railway with refurbished electrification.
  • Burnham-on-Crouch is one of the foremost yachting towns.
  • Remember the area is not far from Snowgoose Country.
  • The new Wallasea wetlands that were created with the tunnel spoil from Crossrail’s tunnels is not far away.

This Google map shows Burnham-on-Crouch and Wallasea Wetlands.

Note.

  1. Burnham-on-Crouch with its station in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Wallasea Wetlands are marked by the red arrow.

I don’t think it will be long before an appropriately-powered ferry is provided across the River Crouch.

I also have some thoughts.

The Class 321 Renatus Trains

The Class 321 Renatus trains may be a 2017 conversion of a 1990-built British Rail Class 321 train, but that doesn’t mean they are a cheap and nasty conversion.

So until all the Class 720 trains are in service, they are a more than adequate stand-in.

I was told that the Class 720 trains will be in service on the branch in September.

The Snow Goose

The Snow Goose is one of the great books of the Twentieth Century, written by the American; Paul Gallico.

This summary of the plot is from Wikipedia.

The Snow Goose is a simple, short written parable on the regenerative power of friendship and love, set against a backdrop of the horror of war. It documents the growth of a friendship between Philip Rhayader, an artist living a solitary life in an abandoned lighthouse in the marshlands of Essex because of his disabilities, and a young local girl, Fritha. The snow goose, symbolic of both Rhayader (Gallico) and the world itself, wounded by gunshot and many miles from home, is found by Fritha and, as the human friendship blossoms, the bird is nursed back to flight, and revisits the lighthouse in its migration for several years. As Fritha grows up, Rhayader and his small sailboat eventually are lost in the Dunkirk evacuation, having saved several hundred men. The bird, which was with Rhayader, returns briefly to the grown Fritha on the marshes. She interprets this as Rhayader’s soul taking farewell of her (and realizes she had come to love him). Afterwards, a German pilot destroys Rhayader’s lighthouse and all of his work, except for one portrait Fritha saves after his death: a painting of her as Rhayader first saw her – a child, with the wounded snow goose in her arms.

It is not a book, you’d expect an American to write about the dark days of World War II in the UK.

But as Christopher Nolan showed in his film, Dunkirk was the battle in World War II, that stiffened up the sinews and summoned up the blood.

Wickford Station

The pictures show that Wickford station is being rebuilt.

I would think it needs a speed-free bridge.

 

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