Freight diagrams over principal Main lines which have 4 tracks

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A60stock

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Question to those who know about freight diagrams, in particular the lines they travel on where the route has both slow and fast lines. I usually note the following where there are 4 tracks (unless exception ofcourse):

WCML - Freight travels on the slow lines (on the right hand side lines in the direction of going north)
ECML - Freight travels on the slow lines (on the outer lines which lie either side of the centre fast lines)
Great Eastern - Freight travels on the fast lines (which are initially on the left then switch to right hand side going East)
MML - Freight travels on the slow lines (on the right hand side lines in the direction going north)
Great Western - Freight travels on the slow lines (on the right side lines in the direction going west)
South Western Main line - Not sure about this one, I think its the fast lines?
South Eastern Main line - Again not sure, maybe the fast ones?
Southern main line?

I guess the question is (at least for the first five, why do they travel on the fast lines for some and slow lines for the others?
 
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edwin_m

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Question to those who know about freight diagrams, in particular the lines they travel on where the route has both slow and fast lines. I usually note the following where there are 4 tracks (unless exception ofcourse):

WCML - Freight travels on the slow lines (on the right hand side lines in the direction of going north)
ECML - Freight travels on the slow lines (on the outer lines which lie either side of the centre fast lines)
Great Eastern - Freight travels on the fast lines (which are initially on the left then switch to right hand side going East)
MML - Freight travels on the slow lines (on the right hand side lines in the direction going north)
Great Western - Freight travels on the slow lines (on the right side lines in the direction going west)
South Western Main line - Not sure about this one, I think its the fast lines?
South Eastern Main line - Again not sure, maybe the fast ones?
Southern main line?

I guess the question is (at least for the first five, why do they travel on the fast lines for some and slow lines for the others?
On most four-track routes freight is running close to its maximum speed (75mph for intermodal trains, 60mph for some heavier ones). This is slower than the speed of intercity services but close to the average speed of typical outer-suburban services. So sharing the same (slow) lines with those outer-suburbans minimises the chance of one train type catching up on the other. If this seems likely to happen as the timetable is developed, the timetable will have to be adjusted to remove the conflict.

I'm not very familiar with the GE but I know the intercity service is a bit slower than on the main lines north and west from London and the four-track section has an intensive service with frequent stops. The freights are mostly intermodals, so I suspect they would fit better with the intercity trains. I can't speak for the lines south of London but I would guess the same applies on any of them where there is enough freight to be noticeable.
 

PHILIPE

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Question to those who know about freight diagrams, in particular the lines they travel on where the route has both slow and fast lines. I usually note the following where there are 4 tracks (unless exception ofcourse):

WCML - Freight travels on the slow lines (on the right hand side lines in the direction of going north)
ECML - Freight travels on the slow lines (on the outer lines which lie either side of the centre fast lines)
Great Eastern - Freight travels on the fast lines (which are initially on the left then switch to right hand side going East)
MML - Freight travels on the slow lines (on the right hand side lines in the direction going north)
Great Western - Freight travels on the slow lines (on the right side lines in the direction going west)
South Western Main line - Not sure about this one, I think its the fast lines?
South Eastern Main line - Again not sure, maybe the fast ones?
Southern main line?

I guess the question is (at least for the first five, why do they travel on the fast lines for some and slow lines for the others?


I'm just wondering if you mean trains because a diagram is a pre-planned programme of a days work for a locomotive and which could be composed of a specified number of trains.
 

Dibbo4025

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Question to those who know about freight diagrams, in particular the lines they travel on where the route has both slow and fast lines. I usually note the following where there are 4 tracks (unless exception ofcourse):

WCML - Freight travels on the slow lines (on the right hand side lines in the direction of going north)
ECML - Freight travels on the slow lines (on the outer lines which lie either side of the centre fast lines)
Great Eastern - Freight travels on the fast lines (which are initially on the left then switch to right hand side going East)
MML - Freight travels on the slow lines (on the right hand side lines in the direction going north)
Great Western - Freight travels on the slow lines (on the right side lines in the direction going west)
South Western Main line - Not sure about this one, I think its the fast lines?
South Eastern Main line - Again not sure, maybe the fast ones?
Southern main line?

I guess the question is (at least for the first five, why do they travel on the fast lines for some and slow lines for the others?
Essentially down to the other services. For example on the GEML the TfL service on the slows is intensive so hard to find a path and has a low average speed so it would be hard to path and slow for a freight. The fast line service is less intensive so there's space and most of the freight is class 4 so can make use of its 75mph speed there. Additionally most freight on this line is running on/off the NLL at Stratford and running on the fasts makes the crossing moves here less disruptive and easier to path.

Similar for other lines. The ECML is has quite an intensive fast service at 125mph and not much on the slows (north of Stevenage or so) , with quite long gaps between sections so running slow lines is less disruptive, and quite similar on the WCML and GWML.

MML at least further out again doesn't have the intensive slow line service and has decent gaps between stations so there's space for freight at a decent speed and again connections from the other lines at the London end are much less disruptive running on/off the slows than fasts.

SWML freights use a mixture as is convenient but often fasts - the service on either line isn't very intensive south of Woking and no freight runs north of Byfleet. If there's a gap on the fast this gives a better run through Basingstoke - less likely to have to work round the terminator - and being only a 100mph line a class 4 again isn't hugely problematic for capacity
 

30907

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As far as the SE is concerned, Fast and Slows are simply labels, they have identical speeds (ditto the Brighton line) and are used interchangeably.
Through Hither Green I would expect freight to use the Slows because of coming off the Nunhead route; I notice that through Shortlands freights tend to be routed Catford Loop and Tonbridge and therefore on the Fast lines because of the flyunder - but in fact the Fasts there are now used almost entirely by stopping trains!
 

zwk500

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Question to those who know about freight diagrams, in particular the lines they travel on where the route has both slow and fast lines. I usually note the following where there are 4 tracks (unless exception ofcourse):

Great Eastern - Freight travels on the fast lines (which are initially on the left then switch to right hand side going East)
I don't know for sure, but I suspect a significant factor in this is that the junctions at Stratford for the North London Line are on the Main/Fast Lines.
Southern main line?
If you mean the Brighton Main Line, freight travels almost exclusively on the Slows - the junction for the WLL and access to the terminals are all on the slows (Intially to the left out of London, then cross over to the right north of Redhill when the Quarries/Fasts have diverged)
I guess the question is (at least for the first five, why do they travel on the fast lines for some and slow lines for the others?
A key component is where the junctions are, especially for the lines & terminals freight are after. The WCML, GWML, MML and ECML all have these connections to the Slow lines only. Once a train is established on a running line you don't want to cross it to a different line unless it's being held back significantly or holding something else back signfincantly. Freight travels at or around 60mph. Most Fast/Main lines are 100mph+, so you'll be wasting capacity by following with a train 60% slower. Whereas the frequent stops in trains on Slow lines bring the average speed down, so a freight train isn't holding anything up. Therefore you get a higher total throughput of trains. Obviously this is a general rule, and in certain situations (like the GEML) it's better to run on the Fasts.
 

Mag_seven

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Great Western - Freight travels on the slow lines (on the right side lines in the direction going west)

On the Western the fast lines are designated as main lines ("the mains") and the slow lines as relief lines ("the reliefs").

Its not unheard of for some Class 4 freights to use the "the mains" between Reading and Didcot if sufficient margin exists.
 
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6Gman

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Question to those who know about freight diagrams, in particular the lines they travel on where the route has both slow and fast lines. I usually note the following where there are 4 tracks (unless exception ofcourse):

WCML - Freight travels on the slow lines (on the right hand side lines in the direction of going north)
Just on a pedantic point, the slow lines on the WCML wander rather. Offside to Rugby, Fast/ Slow/ Fast/ Slow to Brinklow, Slow Lines outside the Fast Lines Nuneaton to Colwich, then nearside to Crewe!

Appreciate that's not the main point though.
 

A60stock

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I'm just wondering if you mean trains because a diagram is a pre-planned programme of a days work for a locomotive and which could be composed of a specified number of trains.
Yes, I meant the actual trains themselves. Sorry if I got the terminology wrong
 
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Its hard enough getting a path for freight full stop on the BML even with the reduced Covid service. A lot of the WTT freight paths clash with WTT passenger services. Freight on the BML runs on the slows, no way you could fit freight onto the fasts on the BML during the day.

Between Shortlands Junction and Swanley freight runs on both the fasts and the slows. The fasts aren't much dufferent. In fact the slow lines lines effectively act as the fast lines between Shortlands and Swanley due to the slow Southeastern and Thameslink services crossing to Orpington at Bickley, thus eliminating the need for them to cross all 4 running lines if they were running on the slow lines.
 
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It’s not totally unknown for a BML freight which comes on at Pouparts Junction to stay in the fast lines at least as far as Selhurst or East Croydon. Getting across to the down slow at Clapham Junction would involve crossing the up fast at Pouparts, running on the down fast, then crossing the up slow over to the down slow. Not always that easy.

Similarly Freight Rambler had a video of a train joining the fast lines at Streatham North Junction. But as most seem to come on at Clapham Junction they will stay in the slow lines.
 
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It’s not totally unknown for a BML freight which comes on at Pouparts Junction to stay in the fast lines at least as far as Selhurst or East Croydon. Getting across to the down slow at Clapham Junction would involve crossing the up fast at Pouparts, running on the down fast, then crossing the up slow over to the down slow. Not always that easy.

Similarly Freight Rambler had a video of a train joining the fast lines at Streatham North Junction. But as most seem to come on at Clapham Junction they will stay in the slow lines.
Its not that freight doesn't run on the fast lines, its just that WTT practically no freight is planned on the fast lines as there is no space for it, and when there is, its 2 track railway times.
 

Bald Rick

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Its hard enough getting a path for freight full stop on the BML even with the reduced Covid service. A lot of the WTT freight paths clash with WTT passenger services. Freight on the BML runs on the slows, no way you could fit freight onto the fasts on the BML during the day.

There is, actually (just) a standard freight path off the Portsmouth Lines at Streatham to/from the Brighton Fast lines to Clapham Jn / Pouparts. The Tolworth Stone trains use it twice a day, two of them in busy parts of the day.
 
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There is, actually (just) a standard freight path off the Portsmouth Lines at Streatham to/from the Brighton Fast lines to Clapham Jn / Pouparts. The Tolworth Stone trains use it twice a day, two of them in busy parts of the day.
Ah, I was more thinking about the freight that goes through Windmill Bridge and East Croydon.
 

StephenHunter

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Essentially down to the other services. For example on the GEML the TfL service on the slows is intensive so hard to find a path and has a low average speed so it would be hard to path and slow for a freight. The fast line service is less intensive so there's space and most of the freight is class 4 so can make use of its 75mph speed there. Additionally most freight on this line is running on/off the NLL at Stratford and running on the fasts makes the crossing moves here less disruptive and easier to path.

Similar for other lines. The ECML is has quite an intensive fast service at 125mph and not much on the slows (north of Stevenage or so) , with quite long gaps between sections so running slow lines is less disruptive, and quite similar on the WCML and GWML.

MML at least further out again doesn't have the intensive slow line service and has decent gaps between stations so there's space for freight at a decent speed and again connections from the other lines at the London end are much less disruptive running on/off the slows than fasts.

SWML freights use a mixture as is convenient but often fasts - the service on either line isn't very intensive south of Woking and no freight runs north of Byfleet. If there's a gap on the fast this gives a better run through Basingstoke - less likely to have to work round the terminator - and being only a 100mph line a class 4 again isn't hugely problematic for capacity
The reason for the GEML slow lines switching sides between Ilford and Manor Park is a decision when electrifying out to Stratford to have the new electric suburban services use Platforms 15-18 at Liverpool Street; having them on the south side made it easier at Liverpool Street.
 

73128

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Its hard enough getting a path for freight full stop on the BML even with the reduced Covid service. A lot of the WTT freight paths clash with WTT passenger services. Freight on the BML runs on the slows, no way you could fit freight onto the fasts on the BML during the day.

Between Shortlands Junction and Swanley freight runs on both the fasts and the slows. The fasts aren't much dufferent. In fact the slow lines lines effectively act as the fast lines between Shortlands and Swanley due to the slow Southeastern and Thameslink services crossing to Orpington at Bickley, thus eliminating the need for them to cross all 4 running lines if they were running on the slow lines.
on that stretch the northern pair are actually the slow lines but used mostly by Kent Coast faster trains, with the TL and SE Orpington local services normally using the southern pair (to reverse, they have to).
 
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