Ely North Junction upgrade proposals

Bald Rick

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MarkyT has a much simpler layout without the speed restrictions from my initial offering.
I’m afraid it would still be a speed restriction round to/from Peterborough, at least compared to today. Besides, what do you think is cheaper 4-5km of new railway, or 2-3km of new road?
 
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MarkyT

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I’m afraid it would still be a speed restriction round to/from Peterborough, at least compared to today. Besides, what do you think is cheaper 4-5km of new railway, or 2-3km of new road?
The road, almost certainly, and that would cause much less disruption for rail users.
 

ac6000cw

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And how slow is a freight from Peterborough-Ely going to be via that route? Will blow up headways by quite some margin from the current 50mph through North Jn.
Quite - the West Curve is sharp enough to need check rails on the south end curve.

The current junction layout was designed to maximise the speeds through it on the busiest route (the Ely-March one), compared to the historical layout which had the Norwich line as the 'main' line. This is really important for the long freights that use it (e.g. I was at Ely on Wednesday evening last week, and at one point there was a procession of three or four freights heading for Felixstowe only a few minutes apart).

If there was a cheap/easy solution to the level crossing problem it would probably have already been done - I don't think there is. The problem is compounded by the 'squidgy' nature of the ground in that area, which makes building bridges and underpasses more difficult. The 'lake' to the south of the curve is an ex-chalk or gravel pit, so it's deep and steep sided - not ideal for putting bridge piers in I suspect.

One thing that could do with fixing (for freight) is replacing or refurbishing the two bridges over the river just north of Ely station - they impose a 20 mph restriction for freight, which means anything full length running northbound (or starting from the goods loop) can't start accelerating properly until the last wagon has cleared the 2nd bridge. By that point the front of a 770m train is only 500-600m from North Junction, so I suspect it's not going to get to 50 mph by the time it gets there... Same issue southbound, compounded by what seems to be frequent signal-checking of trains on the approach to Ely station, bringing freights to a stand which then have to accelerate hard to get to even 20 mph. And as for blocking Platform 3 with a terminating GN train for about half of every off-peak hour - at a busy-with-train-movements station with only three platforms - makes me wonder if the DfT cares about rail freight capacity at all...(it's not that freight would otherwise run through platform 3, it's the extra load on the other two platforms, which are on the main running lines, seems to result in more delays to the freights than used to happen).
 

InOban

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I've just noticed that this thread is seven years old today. Which confirms that there is no clear, viable solution.
 

Adrian1980uk

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Although pretty clearly theres no obvious solution, looking at timetables and the obvious need for increased freight from felixstowe, the business case seems to be there, especially with east west rail giving to opportunity to relieve the GEML of some of the freight trains.
 

edwin_m

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Although pretty clearly theres no obvious solution, looking at timetables and the obvious need for increased freight from felixstowe, the business case seems to be there, especially with east west rail giving to opportunity to relieve the GEML of some of the freight trains.
I assume you're referring to the eventual (maybe) EWR via Cambridge but to access this the freight would have to reverse at Ely or go via Newmarket. Either would have problems of their own but capacity through Ely North Junction wouldn't be one of those problems.
 

Class 170101

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Although pretty clearly theres no obvious solution, looking at timetables and the obvious need for increased freight from felixstowe, the business case seems to be there, especially with east west rail giving to opportunity to relieve the GEML of some of the freight trains.
I assume you're referring to the eventual (maybe) EWR via Cambridge but to access this the freight would have to reverse at Ely or go via Newmarket. Either would have problems of their own but capacity through Ely North Junction wouldn't be one of those problems.
East West Rail on its own won't relieve the GEML and unless the route between Chippenham Junction and Cambridge is firstly doubled in places and secondly Newmarket tunnel made suitable for 9ft 6in (W10 gauge) sized containers, it isn't today then frankly EWR doesn't help in this respect. Haughley Junction is also a constraint being single lead towards Bury St Edmunds.

Realistically most freight will still go via Ely, Peterborough and Leicester to reach Nuneaton and the WCML rather than EWR which may only take you to Bedford anyway unless an east to north facing chord is built at Bletchley to acess the WCML.
 

Class 170101

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BBC Look East reported on its evening bulletin tonight that the cost of Ely North Jn Improvements has increased from £25m to around £500 million, including level crossing work to '124 level crossings'
 

D365

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BBC Look East reported on its evening bulletin tonight that the cost of Ely North Jn Improvements has increased from £25m to around £500 million, including level crossing work to '124 level crossings'
Are you sure you're not missing a zero?
 

Aictos

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BBC Look East reported on its evening bulletin tonight that the cost of Ely North Jn Improvements has increased from £25m to around £500 million, including level crossing work to '124 level crossings'
Firstly is there really that many level crossings in the Ely area? That figure does seem rather excessive as I count northbound a average of about 21 crossings to the next station.

Secondly, I doubt that the work was priced at £25million in the first place, more likely it was priced at £250million but some “journalist” decided that £250m to £500m didn’t make a good sound bite so decided to knock off the zero for maximum outrage.

It’s shoddy journalism as usual because if we use HS2, there was enough outrage it was costing twice as first thought so if you apply that to this which is TWENTY times the initial assumed cost then someone somewhere would have cancelled it.
 

Bald Rick

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I should imagine the level crossings figure is for all the crossings between Ely and Peterborough, and possibly Ely and Ipswich and/or Ely and Kings Lynnof which there are an awful lot. Not all of them will need work, not even the majority, but many will (and all will need a detailed risk assessment based on higher levels of rail traffic).
 

Aictos

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Ianno87

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Also a new bridge, remodelling Ely station and upgrading the 120 level crossings however while I understand level crossings need to be upgraded or removed why the new bridge and remodelling of Ely station?
Perhaps you can't realise the capacity benefit of a remodelled North Jn without also adding capacity to Ely station itself. Otherwise it might just be classic "solving" one thing, but actually just shoving the problem to the next constraint instead.
 

Taunton

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BBC Look East reported on its evening bulletin tonight that the cost of Ely North Jn Improvements has increased from £25m to around £500 million, including level crossing work to '124 level crossings'
My hunch is that the engineer told the journalist that the four level crossings in Queen Adelaide (there are) would now be relieved, rather than just one in the original proposal, and so the benefit had gone up "from 1 to 4 crossings".

And the journalist just scribbled it all down quickly.
 

Class 170101

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Also a new bridge, remodelling Ely station and upgrading the 120 level crossings however while I understand level crossings need to be upgraded or removed why the new bridge and remodelling of Ely station?
The bridge I thought got rid of a couple of the Level Crossings at Ely North Jn.
 

Edders23

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there is an article on the BBC news website

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-51659351

Ely Junction railway upgrade cost rises more than 20 times

The estimated cost of a major railway upgrade has risen to £500m, 20 times the original estimate.

The upgrade to the Ely North junction, a connection point for East Anglia with London and the Midlands, was supposed to start in 2017 but has yet to begin.

The work was originally due to cost £25m, but the BBC understands a Network Rail report found an increase in cost.

Network Rail said the original scheme "wouldn't release the additional services" needed by rail users.

A spokeswoman added: "A far wider range of interventions is required including layout changes at Ely station, improvements to bridges, power upgrades and improvements to level crossings, in order to fully meet demands."

The BBC has contacted the Department for Transport (DfT) for comment.

If the upgrade was to go ahead it could be possible to run more trains between Norwich and Cambridge; King's Lynn and London; Ipswich and Peterborough, along with extra freight services between the port of Felixstowe and the Midlands.

'Critical junction'
The report is understood to reveal that as well as extra track, a new bridge will have to be built, while Ely station and the Queen Adelaide junction will need remodelling.

More than 100 level crossings in the area will also need upgrading, the report said.

In 2017 Network Rail said the work would start between 2019 and 2024.

Despite the rise in cost, the chairman of Transport East Kevin Bentley said: "We've got to make sure that we are still pushing for this. This is a critical junction on the east-west route.

"We have poor east-west links, we have been forgotten about, we have been under-invested in in this region. That has now got to stop."

Network Rail said it would put its further plans to the DfT "in the spring".

 

Bald Rick

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there is an article on the BBC news website

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-51659351

Ely Junction railway upgrade cost rises more than 20 times

The estimated cost of a major railway upgrade has risen to £500m, 20 times the original estimate.

The upgrade to the Ely North junction, a connection point for East Anglia with London and the Midlands, was supposed to start in 2017 but has yet to begin.

The work was originally due to cost £25m, but the BBC understands a Network Rail report found an increase in cost.

Network Rail said the original scheme "wouldn't release the additional services" needed by rail users.

A spokeswoman added: "A far wider range of interventions is required including layout changes at Ely station, improvements to bridges, power upgrades and improvements to level crossings, in order to fully meet demands."

The BBC has contacted the Department for Transport (DfT) for comment.

If the upgrade was to go ahead it could be possible to run more trains between Norwich and Cambridge; King's Lynn and London; Ipswich and Peterborough, along with extra freight services between the port of Felixstowe and the Midlands.

'Critical junction'

The report is understood to reveal that as well as extra track, a new bridge will have to be built, while Ely station and the Queen Adelaide junction will need remodelling.

More than 100 level crossings in the area will also need upgrading, the report said.

In 2017 Network Rail said the work would start between 2019 and 2024.

Despite the rise in cost, the chairman of Transport East Kevin Bentley said: "We've got to make sure that we are still pushing for this. This is a critical junction on the east-west route.

"We have poor east-west links, we have been forgotten about, we have been under-invested in in this region. That has now got to stop."

Network Rail said it would put its further plans to the DfT "in the spring".
I can confirm that the project as it is now has never, ever, been costed at £25m.
 

Maltazer

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I can confirm that the project as it is now has never, ever, been costed at £25m.
Presumably they are now including the cost of a bypass with bridges for Queen Adelaide, which was estimated at over £100m (despite the similar length new Ely bypass coming in at 'only' £43m even after paying to deal with the poor ground conditions).

The Norwich line already has an underpass with a clearance of 3.5m in the same area (proving it can be done without flooding) - would it really be unreasonable to do the same for the other lines and then shut the crossings? Does access for HGVs really need to be provided on the route between Ely and Prickwillow when the costs are so high? Can't they just go the long way round? Or are there rules in place now that all new build must be to A-road standard and clearances?
 

Taunton

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Surely a complete bypass route for freights, from the Soham line to the March line, through open country to the east of Ely, would be far cheaper and achieve what this does.
 

Edders23

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Surely a complete bypass route for freights, from the Soham line to the March line, through open country to the east of Ely, would be far cheaper and achieve what this does.
Cheaper ? building a completely new section of line requiring an act of parliament, purchase of some very expensive farmland plus the cost of the structures etc. would it ?
 

TheBigD

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To be honest I thought an announcement had been made, but will keep schtum until it appears here!
Has anything been announced yet? Have I missed the announcement or is it on hold due to the coronavirus situation at the moment?

Incidentally, rereading the thread originally started back in 2012 its bloody depressing how long it has dragged on for.
 

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