The Anonymous Widower

Could The Wensleydale Railway Become A New TransPennine Route?

Yesterday, The Times had a nearly full page article with a title of The Village With Nowt Taken Out.

It describes how the small market town of Hawes has by its own efforts turned itself from a very much declining town into a thriving community.

The town’s latest project is to take over the only filling station in the town, to avoid a 36-mile round trip to fill up.

The Times was also very impressed, as the newspaper published a Leading Article, which was entitled Hawes for Thought. This is said.

Hawes is a phenomenon, a case study in self-sufficiency, community spirit, bloody-mindedness and the awesome power of bootstraps.

The Leading Article said that Hawes station closed in 1959, which would have been when I was just twelve.

The station buildings are now part of the Dales Countryside Museum.

I got to wondering as I do, where the railway used to run.

Hawes station used to be on the Wensleydale Railway, which connected the East Coast Main Line at Northallerton station to the Settle-Carlisle Line at Garsdale station.

The Wensleydale Railway is now a heritage railway running trains between Northallerton West and Redmire stations, with up to six intermediate stations.

This section from Wikipedia, details their future plans.

The company’s longer-term aim is to reopen the 18 miles (29 km) of line west from Redmire via Castle Bolton, Aysgarth, Askrigg, Bainbridge, Hawes and Mossdale to join up with the Settle-Carlisle Railway Route at Garsdale. A study commissioned by the railway indicated that an initial extension to Aysgarth from Redmire (3 miles (4.8 km)), would generate an extra income of £3.1 million into the local economy with an additional £500,000 in ticket sales for the railway.

There is also this in the Wikipedia entry for Northallerton West station in a section call Future.

The aim of the Wensleydale Railway in the long-term is to extend the line to Northallerton station and allow passengers to interchange with National Rail services. As this will require an agreement with Network Rail, the provision of the platform is an interim solution which will allow the track to be brought into more regular use whilst also bringing in extra income for the heritage railway.

I’ve have looked on at Ordnance Survey map at the track at the Western end and its original position is clearly visible.

Surely, this is the sort of project that rural areas with a high level of tourism need, if the sums add up in the right way!

Consider.

  • The line will have a full length of about forty miles. So it could be a Grand Day Out?
  • The line would connect to the iconic Settle-Carlisle Line at its Western end, with connections to Carlisle, Carnforth and Cumbria and Black and Lancashire.
  • The Line would connect to the East Coast Main Line at its Eastern end, with connections to Darlington, Middlesbrough, Newcastle and York.
  • Network Rail have spent a fortune on the Settle-Carlisle and this would feed in more passengers.

An extended Wensleydale Railway would greatly add to the tourism infrstructure in the area.

Conclusion

If the residents of the area, show the grit and determination, that has been shown by the residents of Hawes, this railway will get built!

There would be another slow-speed TransPennine route.

 

 

November 12, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 4 Comments

From Leeds To Rotherham

This was not what you would call a quality journey.

By train it took 56 minutes, which is about nine minutes longer than it would take in the average car according to various web sites.

There are also nine stops in another Cook’s Tour of Yorkshire.

It was also in a Class 142 train or Pacer.

The map clipped from Wikipedia shows the Wakefield Line, which is the route the train took.

These pictures were taken on the journey.

In this day and age for a journey of an hour a better train is needed, especially as the two end points are Leeds and Sheffield,where the two cities have a joint population of about 1.3 million.

The fastest trains between Leeds and Sheffield are run by CrossCountry and take forty minutes using the Wakefield Line.

As the fastest Rotherham Central to Sheffield trains take 14 minutes, I think it is reasonable to assume, that the right train could do Leeds to Rotherham Central in 26 minutes.

This route could become a Northern Connect route, run by new Class 195 trains.

As the route is electrified between Leeds and Fitzwilliam station, I wonder if this could be a route for a Class 319 Flex train.

Both trains are 100 mph units, as against the 75 mph of the Class 142 train, which probably defines the timetable.

From my observations, the route is not particularly arduous and I suspect that either train could do the journey in just over forty minutes, even with all the stops.

Certainly, the current service is truly dreadful and inadequate.

It appears that the overhead wires are going up for the tram-train to Sheffield. Or at least the gantries!

April 22, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

From Bradford To Skipton

I took the train from Bradford Forster Square station to Skipton station.

It is a route on which there are interesting things to see,

Saltaire

Everything must come second to the World Heritage Site at Saltaire.

Shipley Station

Shipley station is an unusual concept in that the station is built in the middle of a triangular junction.

This Google Map shows the station

It has five platforms and four lifts.

Keighley Station

Keighley station is the  interchange with the Keithley and Worth Valley Railway, which is a heritage railway running steam and vintage diesel trains.

There is a section called Commuter Use in the Wikipedia entry for the Keithley and Worth Valley Railway.

This is said.

As a privately owned heritage railway, the line does not specifically serve commuters; however, a study by Ove Arup & Partners funded by Metro looked at the feasibility of a daily commuter service between Oxenhope and Keighley in 2009.[16] After the first stage of the study was released, Metro stated concerns about a lack of funding and available rolling stock, meaning that services are unlikely to run in the short to medium term

Given that we live in an era of innovative rolling stock, why not run a battery train between Keithley and Haworth?

 

April 22, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Improvements To The East Coast Main Line Through West Yorkshire

This article in Rail Technology Magazine is entitled West Yorkshire to agree £3bn ‘whole route ethos’ investment in ECML.

The article doesn’t go into much detail, but it does explain how a lot of work is needed not only to improve London to Newcastle and |Edinburgh times, but to accommodate high speed services across the North of England.

Looking at the East Coast Main Line on Wikipedia, throws up these improvements.

  • Creation of a platform 0 at Doncaster station, which was completed in December 2016.
  • Improvements through York station.
  • South of Newcastle to Northallerton (which is also predominately double track), leading to proposals to reopen the Leamside line to passenger and freight traffic.
  • Electrification of Northallerton to Middlesbrough.
  • Electrification the line between Leeds and York (Neville Hill Depot to Colton Junction) as a diversionary route and a route for Liverpool to Newcastle services via Manchester and Leeds.
  • Upgrade the line for 140 mph running under ERMTS.

I also think that the Treasury-specified economy electrification should be upgraded to a modern standard. They didn’t make much of a saving as upgrading the line to a modern standard will cost £1.3billion.

Hopefully, these improvements will allow London to Edinburgh in four hours.

Also helping with this goal is the project announced in this article on the Rail Magazine web site, which is entitled NR seeks fourth track north of Huntingdon. The article indicates that this work together with improvements at Werrington Junction, which I wrote about in To Dive Or Fly At Werrington, would improve capacity on the East Coast Main Line.

 

January 31, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Driver Only Train Operation In Yorkshire

One of my readers has just sent me this story from the Yorkshire Post, which is entitled Commuter chaos in Yorkshire after train driver leaves conductor behind.

No-one seems to have been hurt in this demonstration of Driver Only Operation, so perhaps as a matter of honour, the RMT should look at more efficient ways of train operation.

 

January 31, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 2 Comments