Difficult routes (train services) to totally electrify ... and possible solutions.

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by The Ham, 12 Nov 2012.

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  1. D365

    D365 Established Member

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    Isn't North Wales Coast stuck on a bit of a limb; not enough traffic to deserve electrification and the subsequent West Coast standardisation of Baby-Pendos (if any ever come through)?
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    An intriguing solution...
     
  2. RichmondCommu

    RichmondCommu Established Member

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    Although the route has already been approved, I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the GWML. Threading OHE through Box, Patchway, Chipping Sodbury and of course the mighty Severn tunnel will not be easy! Let alone the diversion routes that will be needed. Whilst Box and Chipping Sodbury can of course be avoided, I'm not so sure that the same can be said for Patchway and the Severn!
     
  3. Kali

    Kali Member

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    With increasing and still patchy electrification, a national class of EMU compatible locomotives does seem an attractive idea - would just have to be designed with modular coupler systems and software, I guess.

    SWT run Waterloo-Salisbury-Bristol services too, I presume they'd be junked if more of the route was wired?

    And a little more radical - throw a bit of cash at the Castle Cary-Yeovil section as well & divert some of the Berks & Hants FGW service. That way we get to keep some direct London trains.
     
  4. TDK

    TDK Established Member

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    You wouldn't because I doubt there is anyone who undertands the problems faced on even an easy route like Chester to Crewe who post about pro electrification, Nearly all the bridges and there are a lot of them will need to be altered or the track dropped causing the line to be like a roller coaster, have people never wondered why it hasn't been electrified before?
     
  5. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Basingstoke wouldn't have been impossible for splitting and joining: there was in fact for some years in the late 70s or early 80s a Waterloo-Salisbury slow just after 1800 formed Class 33+4TC+8VEP as far as Basing . Of course the loco was on from Waterloo (I think the whole lot came in empty from Clapham yard - maybe the 4TC was off the Kenny Belle?).

    (@ Kali: 33.1's and 73's could multiple with all EP stock but I'm pretty sure DEMUs couldn't)

    Perhaps the real problem was that the line West of Wilton was WR from 1963, and developing it wasn't their top priority (some might put it more forcefully....).
     
  6. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Prior to December 08 there were 5tpd between Chester and London and they all ran in to North Wales, so there wouldn't have been any long distance services that would have benefited from Crewe-Chester electrification. Although, there would have been a half-hourly Crewe-Chester shuttle at the time but that would have only required 2 electric units with all the units based at Chester diesel units.

    I wonder if DC electrification of Crewe-Chester was ever looked at considering Chester used to have 2 DC terminators an hour when the half-hourly Crewe-Chester shuttle was running and a through service between Crewe and the Wirral would have improved connections.
     
  7. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    I think back then that a large number of the Crewe - Chester DMUs ran through to Llandudno/ Holyhead (back when there was only one Cardiff - Holyhead train a day)
     
  8. Kali

    Kali Member

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    Seems so, only in multiple with each other. Fully mating a diesel with an electric isn't much of a challenge though - more of a challenge since we haven't procured inter-compatible rollingstock recently...

    Wasn't just the WR takeover, most of the line doesn't really go anywhere which was significant at the time. A pity, since some of it is better suited to higher speeds than the berks & hants at least.
     
  9. LE Greys

    LE Greys Established Member

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    As I see it, there are three categories.

    1. Anywhere with <1tph service
    2. Lines that are far too exposed
    3. Certain yards and sidings, because of cranes, chutes and so on

    Many lines would fall into the first category, the Norfolk branches being an obvous example. The second would involve lines such as the Settle & Carlisle, where heavy snow would be a major problem and winds can be a nightmare. In some cases, the tail-end of a main line can fit into one or the other, but heavy through traffic could justify its inclusion. The third has some interesting technical solutions, including plug-and-socket technology, electro-diesels and so on, but a plain old diesel shunter still has its place. So maybe the next answer will be the Class 15 (or whatever the next spare number is) as a Gronk replacement. After all, some of them pre-date Evening Star.
     
  10. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    You were only looking at a very limited number of Crewe-Chester trains running through to Holyhead pre-December 08 though, I think 1 or 2 per day. You'd need to go back even further to around the time when the Wales & Borders franchise took over some routes from FNW for a regular Crewe-Holyhead service which doesn't originate from beyond Crewe.
     
  11. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    I agree on both counts. And there was a lively discussion in Modern Railways at the time (including Cecil J Allen?) about the merits of running all West Country services via the LSWR route, reversing at Exeter St D. Shame it wasn't tried (until the 159's did it, but that's not quite the same as a Merchant Navy or even an HST).
     
  12. GRALISTAIR

    GRALISTAIR Established Member

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  13. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

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    If Oakhampton to Plymouth section is restored there is a fairly good case to run trains to Plymouth along the LSWR to Plymouth via Oakhampton as it doesn't require a reverse at Exeter St. David's to bypass Dawlish.

    It could probably do with having tilting trains to improve journey times and would require the duelling of and line speed improvements on the rest of the line between Exeter & Sailsbury, as well as at least passing loops on the length of line the Gunnislake service currently uses. It could then run 1 train per hour calling at all stations along the route (probably split over two services, probably the best split location would be Yeovil Junction) and one train an hour calling at principle stations only.

    That way there would be no increase in trains into Waterloo and the journey time to Exeter would fall so that with the cheaper ticket prices on that route they may attract more passengers (although off peak a return is only £10 less between Exeter & London, it's just over £90 less for an any-time return).

    Although, with journey times being at least an hour longer at present the journey times would have to fall quite some way and would probably require electrification to get the best journey time improvements. Which is likely to require overhead lines to Waterloo, or using the first generation of E* trains. All of which makes it a nice idea, but unlikely to happen because of the vast cost.
     
  14. Kali

    Kali Member

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    Unfortunately the LSWR route is also a bit of a long way round - iirc half an hour longer in steam days? however there weren't exactly any expresses - just components - going that way so it's hard to really compare. You'd have to buy the bit from the junction to Meldon back off DCC too!

    Tilting trains would allow some speed upgrades east of Exeter, would be nice to theorycraft just what you could do. Also at this point in the various arguments ( at this point also may be worth a new thread :p ) perhaps it's an idea to look at where a brand new higher speed alignment would go. Exeter -> inland of Dawlish -> Newton Abbot ->??? -> Plymouth. At least these days it mostly has to be straight & not quite so concerned with gradients...

    On topic for both; the Barnstaple branch seems a reasonable place to be trialling alternative propulsion rather than electrifying it once wires reach Exeter; it's mostly flat, it's single track, has no freight, it's not a link, has no through long distance services and it's quite long for all of that. I guess equally it'd be a good testbed of alternative electrification infrastructure.
     
  15. Holly

    Holly Member

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    Also where you would want both light rail 750v DC overhead electrification and 25kV AC overhead electrification in the same place if technologically feasible.
    The most obvious example is Altrincham, but there are others.

    Makes you wonder what short sighted thinking it was that various lines have been de-electrified over the years.
     
  16. 172212

    172212 Member

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    Would Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury be difficult to electrify?
     
  17. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Relatively easy.
     
  18. Charlie2555

    Charlie2555 Member

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    I live in the region of the 159 DMUs and I don't think electrification would be very cost effective - given the 1tph in each direction service. It would be possible to double up the tracks but once again, it would be costly and not worth it, as it would still be un-electrified. I don't think there's much of an option at the moment other than continuing as we are.
     
  19. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    Why's that an issue?

    The DC electrified Metrolink line in the Cornbrook area runs right next to the AC electrified line between Deansgate and Trafford Park.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Just found a Network Rail proposed concept relating to Chester-Crewe:

     
  20. AndyLandy

    AndyLandy Established Member

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    Ewww.

    Discontinuous electrification sounds like a clever bodge, but I still feel dirty thinking about it. If the existing Crewe-Chester line really is going to be a nightmare to electrify, I again raise the suggestion of a chord in Hartford and using the MCR to go the rest of the way to Chester. That of course assumes that route would be any easier to electrify, and still doesn't solve the problem if Chester station itself can't be electrified (do we know why this is?)
     
  21. Holly

    Holly Member

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    It is basically not possible to have the same section of track powered by both DC overhead at around 750vDC (like Manchester Metrolink) and also AC overhead (OHLE, 25kV).
    But you can use DC third rail.

    If Crewe-Chester really is so difficult to convert to OHLE then that brings back a prospect of third rail electrification of Crewe-Chester, with the use of AC/DC rolling stock. New or converted from existing. An advantage is that services from London could be turned back at Hooton parkway or Rock Ferry instead of (or as well as) Chester.

    If a new chord at Hartford and OHLE through Delamere is feasible then it would make sense to electrify Chester-Northwich and the existing Hartford Curve as part of the same project.
     
  22. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    At Altrincham itself the rail platforms are around the same horizontal distance from the Metrolink platforms as is the amount of space between the DC Metrolink line and the AC CLC line at Cornbrook.

    A bit further up at Navigation Road the lines are right next to each other but there are numerous other issues at Navigation Road with the single line Metrolink section and how much time the level crossing barriers spend down, that it would actually make sense to re-route Metrolink to be street running for a section to avoid Navigation Road.
     
  23. Bevan Price

    Bevan Price Established Member

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    Between Exeter St. Davids to Plymouth North Road - the LSWR route was about 6 miles longer, but had nothing as steep as Dainton or Rattery banks, etc.

    From 1938 Bradshaw reprint, the best westbound times I can find are 1h 24m by GWR route, calling at Dawlish, Teignmouth & Newton Abbot, and 1h 40m by LSWR route, calling at Okehampton, Tavistock & Devonport. You could probably subtract about 10 to 15 mins from both times if there had been any trains running non-stop between Exeter and Plymouth. (The fastest trains from Paddington to Plymouth / Cornwall had no advertised stops before Plymouth.)
     
  24. LE Greys

    LE Greys Established Member

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    I think that the lower population and two reversals at Exeter and Plymouth were factors, but the main one was that Western Region got hold of it and got themselves shot of the ex-rival's line very quickly. The BR Regions were very parochial about such things. In terms of reopening to electrify, I think I prefer the GWR idea of a short-cut between Starcross and Newton Abbott, to avoid cutting off Torbay while leaving the old line open for local passengers and freight.

    Incidentally, most of those non-stoppers would have had slip coaches, so you could probably get a rough estimate from that.
     
  25. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    I imagine that would mean the Pendolinos would need to be 'upgraded' to have a 'dual pantograph' mode to use where there is discontinuous electrification and that the existing designs of EMU for shorter distances wouldn't be able to run the Chester-Crewe shuttle due to only being fitted with one pantograph in the middle.

    The single track section around Mouldsworth and the sections with 50mph speed limits on sections of the Mid-Cheshire line would need looking at first.
     
  26. AndyLandy

    AndyLandy Established Member

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    Well, indeed. The MCR could certainly use a bit of TLC. What's the speed limit over Northwich viaduct? That always feels like we're going at a snail's pace. (Not that Northwich matters much for the Chester-WCML junction section). Where along the CTR-WCML section is limited to 50?

    As I say, I'm not convinced this idea necessarily has merit, I just know it's a possibility if the existing CRE-CTR line isn't viable to be electrified. Oh, and I'd quite like to see CRE-WSF-HTF-CUD-DLM-MLD-CTR stoppers. That would please me.
     
  27. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    20mph. Around the turn of the millennium tests a while back found it could be raised to 50mph for Sprinters and 175s with no additional work but would need to remain at 20mph for Pacers and heavy freight. As FNW (at the time) used Pacers on some services the paperwork wasn't completed as they wouldn't have re-timetabled services to take advantage of the faster speed anyway.

    MCRUA have reported that some work will be done in a couple of years time to bring the speed up to 50mph for everything but freight, as well as to change the turn back facility at Greenbank to allow a terminating train from Manchester to go in to the Manchester bound platform, which will simplify what happens during engineering works and will help to allow a future additional Greenbank-Stockport service to be introduced.

    In the Manchester direction where the line separates from the other Chester-Manchester line at Mickle Trafford there is a 20/50 or 50/20 (I forget which way around) speed sign. The passenger trains all seem to do 50mph on that section.

    Every train I've ever been on the Mid-Cheshire line has stopped at Cuddington and Greenbank so I'm not certain know what the line speeds are like if the train is running 'express'.
     
  28. Chris125

    Chris125 Established Member

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    I'm not aware that Chester can't be electrified, but the expense would be hard to justify if only the line to Crewe was being wired. As part of a larger scheme to electrify the NWCL, which already seems to be gaining momentum after success in South Wales, it might be less of an issue.

    Chris
     
    Last edited: 23 Nov 2012
  29. AndyLandy

    AndyLandy Established Member

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    I'm not convinced that the Merseyrail is what's preventing Chester being wired. I don't see why you wouldn't just dedicate Platform 7 to Merseyrail DC electrics and put OHLE on Platforms 1-6.

    For sure, wider electrification plans would increase the justification for electrifying Chester, but even it its current state, I'm surprised justifying it is difficult. There are 2tph each way during core hours (Virgin's EUS-CTR and Arriva's CRE-CTR), both of which could be replaced by electric traction. (Do (m)any of the Arriva services run through Chester to destinations beyond?)

    Is there something specific about Chester that precludes easy installation of OHLE, compared with installing OHLE at all the stations along the GWML and MML?
     
  30. Bevan Price

    Bevan Price Established Member

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    There are a handful of Arriva trains between Crewe & Holyhead, including one each way between Birmingham & Holyhead via Crewe (weekdays).
     
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