Hope Valley Capacity Scheme

yorkie

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Just a reminder that this thread is to discuss updates regarding the Hope Valley Capacity Scheme.

We do welcome the posting of ideas and suggestions on this site but we do ask that these are posted in the Speculative Ideas section please.
 
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Killingworth

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Some pictorial reminders below of the area of the major bottleneck. The train of empties was held in Dore & Totley station to await a path to go north. It was followed down the Hope Valley by another that had to ease itself onto the MML to go south via Bradway Tunnel after crossing Dore West and Dore South Junctions.

The train is taking a fairly tight curve with a 50 restriction for passenger services. Until 1985 it was double track and should be again in another 3-4 years. However the forces of wheels on the curve are considerable, be they fast passenger or heavy freight. Work is constantly being done to rectify movement of the track and in hot weather a watchman is stationed here to monitor it throughout peak hours of sunlight. Hopefully the design of the redoubled track may take this better into account.

In the background you'll see the sensitive area of ancient oak woodland that shouldn't need to be disturbed to excavate space for the new loop behind this train. That will allow a train to await a path between the two routes. The signal protects Dore West Junction, the start of the intended loop/chord.

Currently it's possible for freights to stand in the single track section to await a path because passenger services are missing. The pictures show how much space they take up.

Dore & Totley used to have 4 platforms, all long enough to take 6 carriages. Now there's one that takes 4. There was a major junction to the north with 4 tracks into Sheffield, but after 1985 they were reduced to two. The HVCS restores two 6 carriage platforms but HS2 may restore a 3rd track into Sheffield - by 2040?

IMG_20200501_192519.jpgIMG_20200501_192728.jpgIMG_20200501_192746.jpgDoreStation002a (1024x648).jpg2018-04-03.png
 

yorksrob

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Some pictorial reminders below of the area of the major bottleneck. The train of empties was held in Dore & Totley station to await a path to go north. It was followed down the Hope Valley by another that had to ease itself onto the MML to go south via Bradway Tunnel after crossing Dore West and Dore South Junctions.

The train is taking a fairly tight curve with a 50 restriction for passenger services. Until 1985 it was double track and should be again in another 3-4 years. However the forces of wheels on the curve are considerable, be they fast passenger or heavy freight. Work is constantly being done to rectify movement of the track and in hot weather a watchman is stationed here to monitor it throughout peak hours of sunlight. Hopefully the design of the redoubled track may take this better into account.

In the background you'll see the sensitive area of ancient oak woodland that shouldn't need to be disturbed to excavate space for the new loop behind this train. That will allow a train to await a path between the two routes. The signal protects Dore West Junction, the start of the intended loop/chord.

Currently it's possible for freights to stand in the single track section to await a path because passenger services are missing. The pictures show how much space they take up.

Dore & Totley used to have 4 platforms, all long enough to take 6 carriages. Now there's one that takes 4. There was a major junction to the north with 4 tracks into Sheffield, but after 1985 they were reduced to two. The HVCS restores two 6 carriage platforms but HS2 may restore a 3rd track into Sheffield - by 2040?

View attachment 77310View attachment 77311View attachment 77313View attachment 77314View attachment 77315
This illustrates to my mind why this corridor needs to be a priority for improvement.
 

Revaulx

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Dore & Totley used to have 4 platforms, all long enough to take 6 carriages. Now there's one that takes 4. There was a major junction to the north with 4 tracks into Sheffield, but after 1985 they were reduced to two. The HVCS restores two 6 carriage platforms but HS2 may restore a 3rd track into Sheffield - by 2040?
The total b*ggering up of the junction and station happened in 1985, but I'm sure I can remember the four tracking to Sheffield being reduced to two a lot earlier; around 1973?
 

mwmbwls

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Multiple possessions are fraught with difficulty, Although as you say most of the stone comes out via Grindleford and Dore - If a blockade strategy was adopted stone and cement trains could it not be run on the same route as Tunstead trains to WCML destinations - Chinley- New Mills Central - Romiley - Guide Bridge - Heaton Norris - Crewe Basford Hall - and thence to either Stoke or Lichfield and on to Stenson Jn. It's a Great Circle but it would only be necessary for the duration of the blockade.
 

Killingworth

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Multiple possessions are fraught with difficulty, Although as you say most of the stone comes out via Grindleford and Dore - If a blockade strategy was adopted stone and cement trains could it not be run on the same route as Tunstead trains to WCML destinations - Chinley- New Mills Central - Romiley - Guide Bridge - Heaton Norris - Crewe Basford Hall - and thence to either Stoke or Lichfield and on to Stenson Jn. It's a Great Circle but it would only be necessary for the duration of the blockade.
I'm sure it will be, like all situations where there's no alternative, but from an early day in the planning it seems to have been accepted that that would be too disruptive. The Bank Holiday weeks, weekend and over night blockade plans were still favoured last I heard.

With effectively three sites to co-ordinate it's quite a complicated scheduling job. Access will be particularly difficult and sensitive for the two sites at Dore that are very close to housing. I'm sure all of us living near the job just wish it was all over. From the first consultation meetings to trains actually using the tracks looks likely to be 10 years at best.

However, the contractors currently submitting the tenders will be giving their views and we'll have to see what emerges from subsequent negotiations. Nothing is yet set in stone!
 

30907

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Heretical suggestion: assuming the new track through Dore will be bi-directional, how necessary is the additional platform?
Omitting it would cause conflicts in the morning peak, as Manchester-bound trains (which all stop) would all be using the existing track and Sheffield-bound EMTs would have to run "wrong line" through the station area.
Just a thought, and happy to be told I'm wrong!
(I don't think the plan includes trains from the Dronfield route calling, if it does my suggestion is obviously a non starter! )
 

Killingworth

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Heretical suggestion: assuming the new track through Dore will be bi-directional, how necessary is the additional platform?
Omitting it would cause conflicts in the morning peak, as Manchester-bound trains (which all stop) would all be using the existing track and Sheffield-bound EMTs would have to run "wrong line" through the station area.
Just a thought, and happy to be told I'm wrong!
(I don't think the plan includes trains from the Dronfield route calling, if it does my suggestion is obviously a non starter! )
Stake being prepared!!

Bi-directional through the restored twin tracks would be more helpful and was an option until the cost of points and signalling were considered prohibitive. But bi-directiomal with two platforms would offer much greater flexibility and resilience.

There are two further bottleneck issues close by. The first is leaving Sheffield towards the south and needing a path to cross northbound traffic at Dore Station Junction. Restoring 4 tracks wouldn't help with that. A very expensive grade separated junction might be possible but unlikely to happen. (The old disused tunnel just outside Sheffield shows how it could be done but crosses the wrong way.)

The other bottleneck is over 3 mile long Totley Tunnel. Two trains will not be permitted in the tunnel in the same direction at the same time. That signalling restriction effectively makes for a 5 or 6 minute separation. between trains after allowing for a long freight to drag through.

There's a similar restriction through Cowburn Tunnel at the Edale end of the valley.

This is the problem with patching up Victorian infrastructure that provided generous tracks, sidings and stations, but they were then hacked back in the post Beeching era. It wasn't only closed branches that did the damage.

Network Rail has to maintain so much old infastructure, yet can't easily add new where needed.

I take one example. At Dore & Totley old Twentywell Lane crosses the railway. That one road involves 2 railway bridges and 2 river bridges for NR to maintain. The river bridges where the lane had to be diverted to avoid the station, twice!
 
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furnessvale

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The other bottleneck is over 3 mile long Totley Tunnel. Two trains will not be permitted in the tunnel in the same direction at the same time. That signalling restriction effectively makes for a 5 or 6 minute separation. between trains after allowing for a long freight to drag through.

There's a similar restriction through Cowburn Tunnel at the Edale end of the valley.
It does make you wonder how those pesky Europeans have managed to operate those long alpine tunnels for over a century, without slaughtering innocents by the thousand.
 

The Planner

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Multiple possessions are fraught with difficulty, Although as you say most of the stone comes out via Grindleford and Dore - If a blockade strategy was adopted stone and cement trains could it not be run on the same route as Tunstead trains to WCML destinations - Chinley- New Mills Central - Romiley - Guide Bridge - Heaton Norris - Crewe Basford Hall - and thence to either Stoke or Lichfield and on to Stenson Jn. It's a Great Circle but it would only be necessary for the duration of the blockade.
Plus the increase in traffic out of the Peaks that HS2 material by rail traffic will produce, you are going to struggle to get all of the traffic out in one direction if Dore is closed for a length of time.
 

Killingworth

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Plus the increase in traffic out of the Peaks that HS2 material by rail traffic will produce, you are going to struggle to get all of the traffic out in one direction if Dore is closed for a length of time.
The stone traffic is not far short of normal levels at present. I understand they have big contracts to fulfil for construction work in the south with more expected. The two loops being constructed, eventually, here will help to allow longer trains more often. It's more than passenger traffic that needs the work doing, and soon.

A real shame they couldn't get started sooner, but even coordinating routine work seems too difficult. If you look at one of the pictures I posted recently you'll see new drainage put in on the curve that's due to be redoubled. Apparently the contract for that took no account of the future work to relay track right there.
 

Killingworth

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It does make you wonder how those pesky Europeans have managed to operate those long alpine tunnels for over a century, without slaughtering innocents by the thousand.
Which is why I suggested, with zero chance of it happening, a modern tunnel between the two city centres allowing the surface lines to be used for slow moving freight and stopping trains! The Totley and Cowburn (and Disley) tunnels are very wet, causing icicles to form in winter and stopping or severely delaying trains. They may not get our kind of icicles in the rest of Europe:s

Hopefully some resignalling and track improvements can shave a few minutes off end to end journeys, but having looked at it fairly closely I can't see much scope for any significant speed enhancement. As a first step regular users of the line would far prefer to see the existing service (as at the start of March) run to the published timetable, without cancellations, and operated by sufficient carriages so they could always get aboard and get a seat.

However, in the present circumstances all bets on what is needed are probably off. It will be 2023 before we get an idea of how it's all settling down - and the HVCS may be nearing completion.
 

Bald Rick

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It does make you wonder how those pesky Europeans have managed to operate those long alpine tunnels for over a century, without slaughtering innocents by the thousand.
As I think I posted somewhere, possibly upthread, the Lötcshberg tunnel has been shut for weeks because of water ingress problems, and has only recently reopened.
 

furnessvale

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As I think I posted somewhere, possibly upthread, the Lötcshberg tunnel has been shut for weeks because of water ingress problems, and has only recently reopened.
That is the second reply mentioning engineering problems which are, eventually, surmountable.

I was referring to that peculiar British trait of putting bells and whistles on safety systems which our continental neighbours seem to avoid.
 

Bald Rick

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Be assured there are a lot more ‘bells and whistles’ in the Lötcshberg base tunnel than any tunnels in the U.K. bar the Channel Tunnel.
 

furnessvale

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Be assured there are a lot more ‘bells and whistles’ in the Lötcshberg base tunnel than any tunnels in the U.K. bar the Channel Tunnel.
No doubt, but I was talking about the old alpine tunnels that have been carrying passengers and freight for over a century without problem. Apparently, this is not possible through Cowburn and Totley which will mean unnecessary long block sections, permanently restricting the capacity of the Hope Valley line.
 

yorksrob

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I'm sure that there are intermediate signals in Sevenoaks tunnel. Presumably similar would be possible in the case in Totley.
 

edwin_m

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Totley and Cowburn tunnels both include long continuous sections at 1 in 150. As Victorian tunnels are prone to dampness, perhaps the concern is about a heavy freight train being unable to re-start?
 

zuriblue

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I'm sure that there are intermediate signals in Sevenoaks tunnel. Presumably similar would be possible in the case in Totley.
No sure about Lotschberg but certainly the old Gotthard has multiple sections (and, IIRC, some hairy gradients)

Is it down to Totley and Cowburn being in Absolute Block areas? Would this restriction still be valid if they were Track Circuited?
 

The Planner

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I'm sure that there are intermediate signals in Sevenoaks tunnel. Presumably similar would be possible in the case in Totley.
Are they just distants though and not section signals? Totley does have a distant I think in the tunnel on the down.
 

dosxuk

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What about Bradway tunnel on the other side of the Dore triangle? There are signals halfway through that tunnel - are they distants or section signals?
 

Tomnick

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I'm sure that there are intermediate signals in Sevenoaks tunnel. Presumably similar would be possible in the case in Totley.
Whilst some tunnels do have stop tunnels within them, they (all?) have special controls to minimise the likelihood of a train being stopped at a signal mid-tunnel. My understanding is that these generally require the first train to have clear signals beyond the tunnel. I'd suggest that this might not be appropriate for at least Totley Tunnel, where trains (including heavy freight trains, albeit on a falling gradient) are routinely stopped at the signal just beyond the tunnel on the Up (with the risk that they'll be unable to restart once the signal is cleared) and there's a station immediately beyond the tunnel on the Down (with the risk that a passenger train will be delayed there). Personally, I consider the possibility of becoming stranded in there for any length of time to be the stuff of nightmares!

Just to confirm that the signals in the Hope Valley tunnels (Disley on the Down, Cowburn on the Down and Totley in both directions) are all distants, as are those in Bradway Tunnel, notably in the midst of a run of four-aspect signals (which suggests to me that there's a particular objection to having stop signals in that specific tunnel at least).
 

yorksrob

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Whilst some tunnels do have stop tunnels within them, they (all?) have special controls to minimise the likelihood of a train being stopped at a signal mid-tunnel. My understanding is that these generally require the first train to have clear signals beyond the tunnel. I'd suggest that this might not be appropriate for at least Totley Tunnel, where trains (including heavy freight trains, albeit on a falling gradient) are routinely stopped at the signal just beyond the tunnel on the Up (with the risk that they'll be unable to restart once the signal is cleared) and there's a station immediately beyond the tunnel on the Down (with the risk that a passenger train will be delayed there). Personally, I consider the possibility of becoming stranded in there for any length of time to be the stuff of nightmares!

Just to confirm that the signals in the Hope Valley tunnels (Disley on the Down, Cowburn on the Down and Totley in both directions) are all distants, as are those in Bradway Tunnel, notably in the midst of a run of four-aspect signals (which suggests to me that there's a particular objection to having stop signals in that specific tunnel at least).
Ah, thanks, that's very interesting.

I wonder if the fact that all the services through Totley are diesel has any bearing on the relative undesireability of stopping in the tunnel ?
 

Tomnick

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Ah, thanks, that's very interesting.

I wonder if the fact that all the services through Totley are diesel has any bearing on the relative undesireability of stopping in the tunnel ?
That’s quite possibly a factor too - the air in the various tunnels can be particularly unpleasant at times with the combination of heavy freight trains, gradients and relative lack of ventilation.
 

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