Marylebone to MK requirements

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joeykins82

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The East-West consortium envisages that the principal services we'll see from the Oxford to Bedford reopening are:
Reading-Oxford-Bletchley-Bedford
Marylebone-Princes Risborough-Aylesbury-Bletchley-Milton Keynes

http://www.eastwestrail.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/1-Intro-to-EWR.pdf (page 3)

The HLOS for Oxford to Bedford is electrified double-track but could a service frequent enough to be worthwhile run via Aylesbury & Princes Risborough given the length of the single track involved? Do we think we'll see a hasty Evergreen 3.1 including the doubling of the line from Princes Risborough up to Verney Junction? Is it even possible to double Princes Risborough through to Aylesbury?
 
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cle

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I thought it'd been mentioned that Aylesbury Vale to Verney Junction was being doubled?

The 'Risborough line' I'm not sure. Stations are teeny weeny also - but maybe ok for 1tph each way.
 

joeykins82

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Hadn't seen anything about AVP-Verney myself but if it's hidden in the small print somewhere it makes sense.
 
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Firstly, East-West Rail will use Aylesbury - Quainton - Claydon LNE Junction not the closed Quainton - Verney Jn. line. Claydon LNE - Verney will definitely be double track. South of Claydon, the line is to stay single if HS2 ltd get their way.
 

MK Tom

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South of Quaiton HS2 goes onto a different alignment so I don't see any issue with redoubling there.

Incidentally there's a Reading-MK service too.
 

Cherry_Picker

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I thought it'd been mentioned that Aylesbury Vale to Verney Junction was being doubled?

The 'Risborough line' I'm not sure. Stations are teeny weeny also - but maybe ok for 1tph each way.

1tph would be easy. You could just extend the current Marylebone to Aylesbury via High Wycombe service. I'm not sure there would be any great clamour to double track it and increase the linespeed (currently 40mph) though.
 

Metrailway

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1tph would be easy. You could just extend the current Marylebone to Aylesbury via High Wycombe service. I'm not sure there would be any great clamour to double track it and increase the linespeed (currently 40mph) though.

Well Chiltern suggested double tracking the line when they bid for the franchise in 2002...

Anyway it could happen if there is no improvement to the situation on the Aylesbury/Amersham line by 2022. There is currently a lot of suppressed demand in Aylesbury since the car to London is quicker than the train via Amersham.
 

Chris125

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I might be imagining it but im pretty sure the EWR plans include a loop, presumably dynamic, between Aylesbury and Princes Risborough.

Chris
 

Cherry_Picker

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I agree completely. Aylesbury has a rather poor service to London compared to similarly sized towns within 50 miles of London (Aylesbury is about 39 miles via the Met and 43 via High Wycombe fwiw) and I do wonder how many people who live in Aylesbury commute from Haddenham or Tring instead as I dont think they would lose anything in their door to door time and are trading up nicer stock or a more frequent service. But I digress.

If you could double the track between Risborough and Ayslesbury and increase the linespeed to, say, 75 mph+ then you could run sub 45 minute trains from Aylesbury to Marylebone with relative ease if you gave them a favourable stopping pattern (say, Risborough & High Wycombe) but there are quite a few problems which might not be worth solving. There are a lot of foot crossings on the branch line, they would all need to be replaced by overbridges. The ones at the Aylesbury end are very busy, especially the one nearest the station. There is AHB level crossing at Marsh Lane which would need to be completely upgraded to full barriers, I think the junctions at Aylesbury and Princes Risborough would need remodelling as they are both extremely slow (15mph) at the moment. It would take quite the timetable recast to give trains over that route anything other than an all stations stopping pattern because the line via High Wycombe is full to bursting as is and Chiltern bet big on Mainline as recently as last year.
I think you would definitely pick up more commuters from Aylesbury if the route via Wycombe was a 45 minute run, but how many? And how many of them would you just be taking from Haddenham or Stoke Mandeville? I cant see too many people from MK switching to the Marylebone service when the absolute best case scenario for them would still see journey times of over an hour while Euston remains 35-45 minutes away with trains leaving every ten minutes or so. I do think there will be a flow of passengers travelling between MK, Aylesbury and High Wycombe but probably not enough to justify the investment. Dont get me wrong, I'd love to see it happen and while I do think it is a lot more realistic than Hampstead Interchange or reopening the Great Central as far as Rugby (both aspirations in the 2002 franchise bid unless I am very much mistaken) I wouldnt hold my breath for a major upgrade of that branch line.
 

MK Tom

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1tph would be easy. You could just extend the current Marylebone to Aylesbury via High Wycombe service. I'm not sure there would be any great clamour to double track it and increase the linespeed (currently 40mph) though.

There is no hourly Marylebone-Aylesbury via Wycombe service?
 

Cherry_Picker

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Not all day, sometimes it is split between a Princes Risborough terminator and then a separate shuttle over the branch, but there is definitely a path there. I probably should have been more clear with my initial post.
 

RPM

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Well Chiltern suggested double tracking the line when they bid for the franchise in 2002...
QUOTE]

Chiltern suggested doubling what line in the 2002 franchise bid? Aylesbury - Risborough or Aylesbury - Claydon? Actually they proposed neither. I was tasked with printing and delivering the franchise bid to Laing HQ in Mill Hill for approval before it was submitted and neither of those sections of line were proposed for doubling. Even recent proposals relating to the East - West rail link propose the Aylesbury - Claydon section to be single track, HS2 notwithstanding. [As an aside there does seem to be considerable confusion abounding between the former (and long closed) Met route to Verney Junction from Aylesbury via Quainton Road and the later WW2 (extant) link between the GCR and Varisty Line at Claydon].

As Cherry Picker said, there are numerous crossings (20 in total) on the Aylesbury - Risborough branch that would complicate line speed improvements. There is nevertheless just enough room on existing railway land for a passing loop at Little Kimble...
Doubling the whole line would be difficult but not impossible (though possibly unnecessary). The overbridges appear to be double track width, although they were actually slightly generously constructed to span a single broad gauge track. They might just stretch to spanning a double track, or they may need replacing. Certainly the underbridges are all built to single track dimensions as are the earthworks.
 

Metrailway

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Well Chiltern suggested double tracking the line when they bid for the franchise in 2002...

Chiltern suggested doubling what line in the 2002 franchise bid? Aylesbury - Risborough or Aylesbury - Claydon? Actually they proposed neither. I was tasked with printing and delivering the franchise bid to Laing HQ in Mill Hill for approval before it was submitted and neither of those sections of line were proposed for doubling. Even recent proposals relating to the East - West rail link propose the Aylesbury - Claydon section to be single track, HS2 notwithstanding. [As an aside there does seem to be considerable confusion abounding between the former (and long closed) Met route to Verney Junction from Aylesbury via Quainton Road and the later WW2 (extant) link between the GCR and Varisty Line at Claydon].

As Cherry Picker said, there are numerous crossings (20 in total) on the Aylesbury - Risborough branch that would complicate line speed improvements. There is nevertheless just enough room on existing railway land for a passing loop at Little Kimble...
Doubling the whole line would be difficult but not impossible (though possibly unnecessary). The overbridges appear to be double track width, although they were actually slightly generously constructed to span a single broad gauge track. They might just stretch to spanning a double track, or they may need replacing. Certainly the underbridges are all built to single track dimensions as are the earthworks.

Yes it was the Risborough - Aylesbury line. It was under the heading "Evergreen D"

2.4 Project Evergreen Phase D
The Franchise Operator proposes to increase service frequency and reduce journey times over the Franchise Term on the High Wycombe line, including the provision of passenger services between London Marylebone and the new parkway stations referred to in paragraph 2.2 above. In order to comply with this output it is envisaged that the Franchise Operator would carry out additional infrastructure works which may include doubling of the line between Aylesbury and Princes Risborough and quadrupling of parts of the line south of High Wycombe.
 

The Planner

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You need a loop big enough to stick a bin liner train in and a few more signals too ! the IB at Little Kimble isn't quite enough. I don't think complete twin track is needed.
 

cle

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Could the stations be loops (i.e. two platforms) and perhaps dynamic or doubled between them?

Marston Vale was 40mph for years, and then upgraded to 60mph. I assume with EWR it will be improved further. So surely this stretch could at least be upgraded to 60mph in parts?

And I agree that Aylesbury is badly served, in terms of journey times. The Amersham line is terribly slow, but now A stocks are gone, hopefully it might be sped up a bit? I'm sure though that any improvements will be kept safe for timetable fat.

If the MK service was fast from London to High Wycombe, it might provide a better service and stimulate some demand. Intermediate journeys - who knows yet but there are plenty of people dotted around, and both HW and MK are big regional shopping centres and Bucks' two biggest towns, with Aylesbury in between them.
 

mr_jrt

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Somewhat fanciful, but I still firmly believe that OOC-High Wycombe should be Crossrail's 2nd branch, if indeed not OOC-Oxford/Bicester/Aylesbury.

The freed up capacity at Marylebone would then enable Chiltern to take over everything north of Moor Park (or maybe Ricky, if the TfL finished the 4-tracking job). Once they had segregated lines all the way, then line speed improvements, OHLE and platform extensions all become viable on the via Amersham route.
 

Metrailway

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Could the stations be loops (i.e. two platforms) and perhaps dynamic or doubled between them?

Marston Vale was 40mph for years, and then upgraded to 60mph. I assume with EWR it will be improved further. So surely this stretch could at least be upgraded to 60mph in parts?

And I agree that Aylesbury is badly served, in terms of journey times. The Amersham line is terribly slow, but now A stocks are gone, hopefully it might be sped up a bit? I'm sure though that any improvements will be kept safe for timetable fat.

If the MK service was fast from London to High Wycombe, it might provide a better service and stimulate some demand. Intermediate journeys - who knows yet but there are plenty of people dotted around, and both HW and MK are big regional shopping centres and Bucks' two biggest towns, with Aylesbury in between them.

According to this article the Varsity line will have 90 - 100mph stretches between Oxford and Bletchley, 90mph Aylesbury - Claydon LNE and 70mph Bletchley - Bedford.

I'm doubtful that journey times will significantly improve via Amersham. TfL's response to Network Rail's suggestion that speed improvements could be made on the Amersham - Harrow stretch was:
Whilst journey time improvements on this route are welcome, they should not come at the expense of service levels at stations in London.

Doesn't sound very positive does it!
 

cle

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Ridiculous as S stock could easily keep time with clunky old turbos - which are hardly massively frequent. And off peak the track is all theirs now!
 
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