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Cross City Line suggested reroute and conversion to tram train

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adrock1976

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What's it called? It's called Cumbernauld
The normal pre-Covid timetable has a frequency of every 10 minutes between Barnt Green and Four Oaks via Birmingham New Street, with a train every 20 minutes to and from Bromsgrove and Redditch, and every 10/20 minutes beyond Four Oaks to Lichfield (both City and Trent Valley).

As these trains use Platforms 8 to 12 at New Street, facing the Derby/London direction at the "A" end of the platforms, these trains use the right hand pair of tracks through the tunnel, then at Proof House Junction they weave across to the Lawley Street viaduct to join the ex Grand Junction towards Aston. This I would imagine be quite a challenge to plan and build a timetable around for trains heading to and from Coventry and the ex Midland route towards Derby.

I have thought about converting to tram train (depending upon how Rotherham/Sheffield Supertram has worked out) with on street running between Five Ways and Aston, with the route reusing the alignment through the disused tunnel to the vicinity of the former Granville Street station and Central Goods Yard (near the former Royal Mail mail centre - now The Mailbox), along Navigation Street, turn right into Hill Street, left turn Smallbrook Queensway, Moor Street Queensway passing the forecourts of both New Street and Moor Street stations, then swinging a right turn near the former site of Masshouse Circus to join and run along Curzon Street (for HS2), cross Lawley Middleway then swinging towards the former Vauxhall Goods Yard, reusing the disused tracks between here and beyond Duddeston station to Aston, then swinging over towards Gravelley Hill and onwards. In the vicinity of Aston, the track may involve some sharp curves to get over the ex Grand Junction route towards the Lichfield route.

Also, there could be an extension every 30 minutes beyond Lichfield Trent Valley to Burton upon Trent, calling at a reopened Alrewas.

Through conversion to tram trains and with on street running through Birmingham, this would eliminate the weaving moves at Proof House Junction, and would directly link the University/QE Hospital, Lichfield, and Sutton Coldfield with New Street, Moor Street, and Curzon Street stations too.
 
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The Planner

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It has very little to no impact on Coventry trains, it is only XC you have to worry about. Your proposal makes the existing Cross City service hideously worse.
 

London Trains

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There's a much easier solution if the plan is to simplify New Street and connect it with Curzon Street.

Just build a tunnel from Five Ways to Duddeston directly underneath the current railway with stations at New Street and Curzon Street.

The current ground level line between Five Ways and New Street can be removed with XC services from Bristol going via Camp Hill into Moor Street to connect with HS2. The line at Duddeston will still have to connect to the main line for Walsall services and freight, but this is fine as there is space next to the railway for a portal unlike on the Five Ways end.

Then double track Barnt Green to Redditch and build a second platform at Lichfield Trent Valley high level, and then the cross city line services can be doubled to 12tph.
 

adrock1976

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What's it called? It's called Cumbernauld
It has very little to no impact on Coventry trains, it is only XC you have to worry about. Your proposal makes the existing Cross City service hideously worse.

Many thanks for the clarification regarding the Coventry trains.

I forgot that the Birmingham bound track from Coventry was rerouted slightly to run next to the London bound track underneath the Lawley Street viaduct when Proof House got sorted. I do remember it was only the London bound track that passed underneath the viaduct when I used to reside in the West Midlands.

I am aware that there has been previous threads or comments regarding a tunnelled section, but nobody has ever mentioned tram trains before.

Also, regarding trains to and from Coventry, can they arrive and depart New Street at anytime (subject to the headways required)?
 

The Planner

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There's a much easier solution if the plan is to simplify New Street and connect it with Curzon Street.

Just build a tunnel from Five Ways to Duddeston directly underneath the current railway with stations at New Street and Curzon Street.

The current ground level line between Five Ways and New Street can be removed with XC services from Bristol going via Camp Hill into Moor Street to connect with HS2. The line at Duddeston will still have to connect to the main line for Walsall services and freight, but this is fine as there is space next to the railway for a portal unlike on the Five Ways end.

Then double track Barnt Green to Redditch and build a second platform at Lichfield Trent Valley high level, and then the cross city line services can be doubled to 12tph.
12tph? Not sure you have thought that through. The headway on the Cross City North is 5 minutes, that means you have filled the line with no resilience at all. Not sure how Aston will work either with anything else with 24tph passing over the junction. The trains would also have about 2 minutes to do to a turnaround before the next one arrives! Then you have Barnt Green and Kings Norton to deal with. Presumably you are an advocate of XC not going to the NW either as going to Moor St scuppers that.

Many thanks for the clarification regarding the Coventry trains.

I forgot that the Birmingham bound track from Coventry was rerouted slightly to run next to the London bound track underneath the Lawley Street viaduct when Proof House got sorted. I do remember it was only the London bound track that passed underneath the viaduct when I used to reside in the West Midlands.

I am aware that there has been previous threads or comments regarding a tunnelled section, but nobody has ever mentioned tram trains before.

Also, regarding trains to and from Coventry, can they arrive and depart New Street at anytime (subject to the headways required)?
You must have left a long time ago, Proof House was done in 2000! Not sure what you mean with the Coventry trains, the only real conflicts they have are with a XC coming out the low side and crossing at Grand Jn towards the Camp Hills.
 

Bald Rick

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It’s currently 9minutes from Five Ways to Vauxhall Jn (between Proof House and Duddeston) by train, including a 3 minute stop at New St. Given the roads and junctions this tram train would be traversing, plus several station stops, it would be lucky to make the same journey in 15 minutes.

That’s before we get to the capacity issue - a current Midland Metro tram can take 210 people with 54 seats, compared to a 6 car 730 which can take around 800 people with about 500 seats. So you’d need to run 4 times as many trams as trains, or have much longer trams, with implications for on street running and street stations, and all would mean a lot more people standing for their journey.

All in all, not good for the vast majority of passengers.

In a world with lots of money, there would be some merit in a tunnelled route from Vauxhall to Five Ways, albeit with just one central station, with entrances either end for Curzon St and New St. The latter would be very awkward, as there is little chance of being able to build directly into the New St platforms from below.
 
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