Ely North Junction upgrade proposals

bspahh

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locomad46

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SW Norfolk includes Downham Market which, despite having an 8 car platform, sees one 8 car service in each direction per weekday. The rest of the day, 4 car trains are invariably busy and, during the peak, overcrowding is the norm (not helped by the switch to 387s from 365s). Therefore, it's in her constituents' interests for 8 car trains to be standard and that can only realistically happen with the platform extensions (SDO not being desirable at certain locations).

That's WHY.
Dear dear!
 

MikeWM

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With some progress being made towards the 'new' Waterbeach station - due in 2021 (though no doubt will be later), is it just me that is concerned that everyone is going to twiddle their fingers and delay doing anything with the existing Waterbeach station until we're close enough to 2021 that 'it's not worth extending the existing one now'?

I *hope* I'm being overly cynical, but given the way the Fen Line is being sacrified on the altar of Thameslink, I'm not so sure that this is just me being overly worried about this.
 

jopsuk

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There was supposed to be a cheap extension of Waterbeach to 8-car platforms to happen this year. Looks like no-one seems to have agreed to pay for this.
 

eastdyke

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Rail summit will hear progress report on improvements to Ely North junction
A report in Eastern Daily Press today:
http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/rail-summit-in-ely-1-5497303
Shouldn't take too long :(
Level Crossings only get a mention in the picture caption. The picture itself is, to say the least, unfortunate.
In particular:
Rail summit will hear progress report on improvements to Ely North junction

http://images.archant.co.uk/polopol...e.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_630/image.jpg
Elizabeth Truss MP and George Freeman MP at the Queen Adelaide level crossing close to the Ely North junction. Picture: Ian Burt

A major rail summit will this week hear how the campaign for long-awaited improvements to Ely North Junction is proceeding.


Politicians and business leaders say improvements north of the city at Queen Adelaide would help unlock the region’s economy and speed up journey times.
Some £8m in funding was agreed last year from learning and enterprise partnerships (LEPS) and the government’s Strategic Freight Network.
The money was to fund a feasibility study into how improvements could be carried out.
Five lines from different points of the compass presently converge at Queen Adelaide, two miles north of Ely, meaning the work could potentially be complex to complete.

On Friday, May 4, politicians will meet in Ely to hear progress reports and campaign updates.
The session will be hosted by South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss. Also attending will be MPs Sir Henry Bellingham, Jo Churchill and George Freeman, along with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor James Palmer.

Also supporting the event will be Stansted Airport, which is keen to see the junction improved for its own future growth plans.

The meeting, at East Cambridgeshire Council’s Nutholt Grange HQ, will include progress reports on other rail issues. Rail officials will be on hand to provide updates.

It comes in the wake of what rail-users’ lobby group the Fen Line Users Association calls “a cemetery of promises which have not been kept”.
Plans for longer, more frequent trains pledged for this year have been abandoned by rail operators because platforms have not been extended along the King’s Lynn - Cambridge line.
An amended timetable also includes longer stops at some stations, meaning the journey from Lynn to London will take 10 minutes longer.
Rail chiefs say the move will mean fewer delays and more reliable services.

In a statement train firm Govia Thameslink, which operates the Great Northern franchise on the Fen Line, said: “With passenger numbers doubling in 16 years, the allocated stop times at many stations are simply too short to reasonably account for those getting off and on - so at 75 stations trains will stop for longer.”
 

ocelocelot

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Is there the prospect of these works speeding up the timetabled journey times, as opposed to just increasing reliability of existing quoted journey times?

Of particular interest to me are the services between Ely and Norwich.

I have noticed from previous timetables that (even without counting the extra time from the new stop at Cambridge North) the timetabled journey time from Cambridge to Norwich had increased by two or three minutes in the last ten ish years, which seems like a step in the wrong direction to say the least! (Unless the previous timetables were unrealistic and rarely met)
 
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bspahh

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Is there the prospect of these works speeding up the timetabled journey times, as opposed to just increasing reliability of existing quoted journey times?

Of particular interest to me are the services between Ely and Norwich.

I have noticed from previous timetables that (even without counting the extra time from the new stop at Cambridge North) the timetabled journey time from Cambridge to Norwich had increased by two or three minutes in the last ten ish years, which seems like a step in the wrong direction to say the least! (Unless the previous timetables were unrealistic and rarely met)
The improvements to the Ely North junction are designed to increase the throughput, rather than the speed through the junction. It will save the time that is lost at the moment, waiting for other trains to pass, and would allow for more trains to be run.

The Long Term Planning report here https://www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/long-term-planning/ links to https://cdn.networkrail.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Route-Specifications-2016-Anglia.pdf where page 31 mentions that in "2019" they might "Raise lower speeds up to the (75mph) maximum line speed". The target time from Cambridge to Norwich is unchanged at 80 minutes. In the 2043 section, it mentions the aspiration for from the council for 2 trains per hour.

There is going be a more detailed report later this year with more precise commitments.
 

edwin_m

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Ely is more of a capacity issue than Trowse, because trains on all three routes have to go through the same junction. Trains on the same route can be timetabled to pass each other on a double junction to minimise capacity penalty, but at Ely North this is only possible for Peterborough trains so trains to and from Lynn or Norwich each need their own "slot". Thus the busiest part of the line is the one with the least capacity. This probably exacerbates the crossing closure times as well.
 

eastdyke

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Ely is more of a capacity issue than Trowse, because trains on all three routes have to go through the same junction. Trains on the same route can be timetabled to pass each other on a double junction to minimise capacity penalty, but at Ely North this is only possible for Peterborough trains so trains to and from Lynn or Norwich each need their own "slot". Thus the busiest part of the line is the one with the least capacity. This probably exacerbates the crossing closure times as well.
Timetabling is one thing, real time quite another.
Trowse Swing bridge will have 5tph (each way) when the Norwich-London goes 3 tph (if it does of course), plus the odd freight and all those extra ecs moves resulting from the new rolling stock ......
As it is the EMT services into Norwich are frequently held before Trowse lower junction awaiting a path. Not so much experience of the Cambridge-Norwich but I am fairly sure that it happens to those as well.
As to GA timings generally, is anybody able to confirm yet that the bi-modes will be allowed 'sprinter' speeds?
 

dk1

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If & when ELY North Junction gets remodelled I was advised by a signalling manager that the line speed for trains passing over the junction for the Lynn & Norwich routes are likely to have the speed lowered from the current 50mph. This is down to the tighter turnouts needed in the realitivley short space north of Kiln Lane AHB & the various signal sections. The same short space is also the reason 'double blocking' has never been removed following TPWS installation due to the complex nature of overspeed sensors that would be required.

Regarding the permission for new stock to run at sprinter speeds, nothing has yet been confirmed. The rumours continue internally, most of which are on the side of doom & gloom as usual.
 

Bald Rick

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Timetabling is one thing, real time quite another.
Trowse Swing bridge will have 5tph (each way) when the Norwich-London goes 3 tph (if it does of course), plus the odd freight and all those extra ecs moves resulting from the new rolling stock ......
As it is the EMT services into Norwich are frequently held before Trowse lower junction awaiting a path. Not so much experience of the Cambridge-Norwich but I am fairly sure that it happens to those as well.
As to GA timings generally, is anybody able to confirm yet that the bi-modes will be allowed 'sprinter' speeds?
I’ve been in Trowse SB ‘box and seen trains over the bridge in opposite directions less than 2 minutes apart. Yes it’s a constraint, but not that much, although swills will give a definitive view.

If & when ELY North Junction gets remodelled I was advised by a signalling manager that the line speed for trains passing over the junction for the Lynn & Norwich routes are likely to have the speed lowered from the current 50mph. This is down to the tighter turnouts needed in the realitivley short space north of Kiln Lane AHB & the various signal sections. The same short space is also the reason 'double blocking' has never been removed following TPWS installation due to the complex nature of overspeed sensors that would be required.
It’s the hell of a project, and always has been. The Civil Engineers who put the junction in 1992 squeezed a lot of speed out of it back then.
 

dk1

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It’s the hell of a project, and always has been. The Civil Engineers who put the junction in 1992 squeezed a lot of speed out of it back then.
We have much to be grateful for & it's a shame the Junction never fully lived up to it's intended capacity. When it works now it works very well.
 

eastdyke

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Lynn News has published a few lines in relation to the meeting last Friday:
https://www.lynnnews.co.uk/news/rai...ent-is-essential-to-secure-funding-1-8489159/

From which I note:
That level crossings STILL don't get a mention.
That the platforms at both Waterbeach and Littlport (sic) SHOULD BE extended for 8 car trains by early 2019 (Health and Safety being to 'blame').
And that Studies to determine how the work can be done (at Ely North Junction) are already underway and Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said a design for the scheme, which was originally earmarked to be done between 2009 and 2014, will be ready by spring. [no YEAR mentioned]
It is a little disturbing to me that NR has been given £8.8 million by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, New Anglia LEP and the Strategic Freight Network for a GRIP 2 study but that there is no actual progress report that outlines the identified challenges.
Are we still at a headless chicken stage?

Rail summit on key Ely North junction agrees early lobbying of government is essential to secure funding
MPs from left: Jo Churchill, George Freeman, Elizabeth Truss and Sir Henry Bellingham all attended the Ely rail summit to discuss progress on the Ely North junction scheme.
A rail summit called by South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss turned into a war cabinet on Friday when she and three other East Anglian MPs together to decide a plan of action to force the government’s hand over the Ely North rail junction.

The junction is pivatol to any major improvements to rail services across East Anglia including increased services between King’s Lynn and London and Norwich to Cambridge, as well as the re-opening of the Wisbech line.


Ely North junction was the main topic at a rail summit called by MP Elizabeth Truss.
The meeting heard work on Ely North junction could be included in the government’s next spending round, which runs from 2019 to 2024.

How to make the government cough up the cash to ensure the project is done “sooner rather than later” was top of the agenda.

Studies to determine how the work can be done are already underway and Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said a design for the scheme, which was originally earmarked to be done between 2009 and 2014, will be ready by spring.

She said the delay had given Network Rail a chance to ensure a scheme that achieves the best for passenger and freight traffic.


A rail summit was held in Ely to discuss a vital upgrade to Ely North railway junction.
George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk, said the junction upgrade would clear a “blocked artery” and allow half-hourly trains between King’s Lynn and Cambridge.

Ms Truss said early meetings with the Department for Transport and the Chancellor were essential to try to ensure the scheme is included in the November budget adding lobbying will be key to success.

Meanwhile commuters from King’s Lynn to London will continue to face “cattle truck” conditions after North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham questioned the delay over introducing eight carriage trains.

He was told health and safety is to blame with platforms at Littlport and Waterbeach needing to be extended to allow the longer trains to run safely - that work should be finished early 2019 Ms Duymaz said.
 

jopsuk

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flatten most of Queen Adelaide, build a full grade separated junction and re-route the road via a low viaduct
 

Meerkat

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Any chance you could really splash out but on the rail not the road?
Move the Peterborough junction south, take the line to the West of the factory and under the West curve bridge (or replacement of), cut the corner and reverse bend off to meet the original line where it straightens out. If you didn’t mind a very wiggly route the Kings Lynn line could turn off after the bridge and leave only the Norwich line level crossing.
Could improve line speeds and junctions, and remove level crossings without new roads or cutting off the village. But cost lots of money, lose the west curve, and the nature reserve wouldn’t like it.....
 

Bald Rick

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Any chance you could really splash out but on the rail not the road?
Move the Peterborough junction south, take the line to the West of the factory and under the West curve bridge (or replacement of), cut the corner and reverse bend off to meet the original line where it straightens out. If you didn’t mind a very wiggly route the Kings Lynn line could turn off after the bridge and leave only the Norwich line level crossing.
Could improve line speeds and junctions, and remove level crossings without new roads or cutting off the village. But cost lots of money, lose the west curve, and the nature reserve wouldn’t like it.....
Well anything is possible! Within the laws of physics. But given this is our (taxpayers) money being spent, I’d rather the output was provided for the lowest possible cost, wouldn’t you?
 

Meerkat

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Indeed, but so far the alternatives are not giving much output for a lot of cash (none of the road options look cheap apart from rather unusual sounding ANPR one)
If a bridge route was £40m how much railway could you get for that?
 
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As long as I can still use the back way to get to the A10 from the Soham to Ely Road (it is the bouncy road around) I don’t mind what they do to the level crossing at a Queen Adelaide. At present I don’t go across any level crossings. I fully expect this to be done by 2029!
 

Bald Rick

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Indeed, but so far the alternatives are not giving much output for a lot of cash (none of the road options look cheap apart from rather unusual sounding ANPR one)
If a bridge route was £40m how much railway could you get for that?
In that part of the world, rather less than a mile if there are no complications (there are).
 

Meerkat

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Fair enough, but the rail spend would be more beneficial for both the railway and the village.
It is crayons stuff I admit, but anything else just looks an expensive bodge from looking at the map.

Ps when you say “in that part of the world” do you mean the sogginess? The bit north of the road would appear to cut through slightly higher, hopefully less boggy ground.
 

Bald Rick

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Fair enough, but the rail spend would be more beneficial for both the railway and the village.
It is crayons stuff I admit, but anything else just looks an expensive bodge from looking at the map.

Ps when you say “in that part of the world” do you mean the sogginess? The bit north of the road would appear to cut through slightly higher, hopefully less boggy ground.
The ground is all terrible round there, as Cambs CC and Mayor Palmer have found out the hard way.
 

eastdyke

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Any chance you could really splash out but on the rail not the road?
Move the Peterborough junction south, take the line to the West of the factory and under the West curve bridge (or replacement of), cut the corner and reverse bend off to meet the original line where it straightens out. If you didn’t mind a very wiggly route the Kings Lynn line could turn off after the bridge and leave only the Norwich line level crossing.
Could improve line speeds and junctions, and remove level crossings without new roads or cutting off the village. But cost lots of money, lose the west curve, and the nature reserve wouldn’t like it.....
A further complication, as if one were needed, is that route would be across some of what is currently an open water part of the Ely Pits and Meadows SSSI [desig. 2008]. :frown:
Ely Pits and Meadows SSSI is a nationally important site as the best fossil reptile locality in the northern outcrop of the Kimmeridge Clay, for its breeding bird assemblage of lowland open waters and their margins, and for breeding and wintering bitterns Botaurus stellaris.
https://magic.defra.gov.uk/MagicMap.aspx?startTopic=Designations&activelayer=sssiIndex&query=HYPERLINK='2000642'
Indeed, but so far the alternatives are not giving much output for a lot of cash (none of the road options look cheap apart from rather unusual sounding ANPR one)
If a bridge route was £40m how much railway could you get for that?
Ely Southern By-pass was authorized for construction at an estimated cost of £36m, during construction this was revised to £49m, I don't know the outturn figure. But it has been built, it is open, and is not the first Civils Project on this Island to be overspent. :|
Going forward, a practicable road based solution for Queen Adelaide might be nearer £100m perhaps giving a little more for any comparative alternative options which offer value.
 
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I have been thinking about what to do here for a while, since it is a road I use a great deal, living in Prickwillow, and the recent conversation has given me a different idea. Not sure how viable it is, but in the attached image, the red line would be a new rail link, allowing the closure of the westernmost level crossing, and the yellow line is a existing farm track that could be purchased and relaid to close the Norwich line crossing. The orange line could be used to smooth out the road, for additional cost.

I see a few advantages to this over the use of the current West Curve bridge, it doesn't affect the nature reserve, allows large vehicles to get to the haulage depot from the east, and it doesn't involve much new OHLE (only where the current single lead junction is removed). I assume they want to change the junction layout anyway as part of any upgrade. It also doesn't cut the village in half, and puts the garage on the Ely side, so the owner won't be too upset at loss of trade, and there is no risk of one crossing queue running over another crossing. The disadvantage is obviously the remaining crossing is going to be closed a lot of the time, but that won't be too much of an issue, as there is a route into Ely via the road south and the station.

I would appreciate any criticism, I wonder what problems I have missed.

View media item 3392
 

edwin_m

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I have been thinking about what to do here for a while, since it is a road I use a great deal, living in Prickwillow, and the recent conversation has given me a different idea. Not sure how viable it is, but in the attached image, the red line would be a new rail link, allowing the closure of the westernmost level crossing, and the yellow line is a existing farm track that could be purchased and relaid to close the Norwich line crossing. The orange line could be used to smooth out the road, for additional cost.

I see a few advantages to this over the use of the current West Curve bridge, it doesn't affect the nature reserve, allows large vehicles to get to the haulage depot from the east, and it doesn't involve much new OHLE (only where the current single lead junction is removed). I assume they want to change the junction layout anyway as part of any upgrade. It also doesn't cut the village in half, and puts the garage on the Ely side, so the owner won't be too upset at loss of trade, and there is no risk of one crossing queue running over another crossing. The disadvantage is obviously the remaining crossing is going to be closed a lot of the time, but that won't be too much of an issue, as there is a route into Ely via the road south and the station.

I would appreciate any criticism, I wonder what problems I have missed.

View media item 3392
Interesting . It would also simplify the junction layout by separating the two junctions. However it does introduce quite a tight curve into the new Peterborough route - maintaining speed might need a longer sweeping curve to tie in roughly where the existing curve ends. This would of course be more expensive...
 

bspahh

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Interesting . It would also simplify the junction layout by separating the two junctions. However it does introduce quite a tight curve into the new Peterborough route - maintaining speed might need a longer sweeping curve to tie in roughly where the existing curve ends. This would of course be more expensive...
Interesting. The yellow route would be fine for vehicles, but the bridge over Queen Adelaide Way https://goo.gl/maps/ZKYbtBPpHpoLZ6e29 is a bit narrow to take a footpath as well as 2 lanes of traffic. It could be turned into a single track road with traffic lights, as with the underpass at Ely station. A footbridge with accessible ramps would be a bit of an eyesore.
 
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