MML Electrification

LNW-GW Joint

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There's an article about NR's plans in Rail this week (#765 p54).

It seems that work on site will start in April 2015, the contractor being Carillion Powerlines.
They will be using road-rail vehicles for the work, not a high-output system.
The 125mph design isn't explicitly named but seems to not be either Series 1 (140mph, as used on the GW scheme) or Series 2 (100mph, as used on the NW and EGIP schemes).
The masts are said to be of a new slimmer and cheaper design.
Power supplies will be at Sundon/Luton (upgraded), Braybrooke (Market Harborough), Trent and Chesterfield.

The overall cost is set at £1.3 billion (original estimate £0.9 billion).
The milestones are the same as have been published in the NR CP5 plan, with the first stretch to be completed being Bedford-Kettering-Corby by Dec 2017.
Derby/Nottingham is Dec 2019, Sheffield Dec 2020.

The existing OHLE between St Pancras and Bedford will be upgraded for 125mph running, but will not be completely replaced.
They will be making passive provision for future extensions (eg towards Bletchley and Doncaster/Moorthorpe), but none have been approved yet.
Only 4 platforms will be wired at Sheffield, and the tunnel northwards is not being wired.
That means the electric stock must be based to the south of Sheffield.
There will not be a direct connection to any other electrified route, except Thameslink.
There are indirect electrified connections from St Pancras to the WCML and ECML (and HS1).

This scheme was authorised in the CP5 HLOS (July 2012), so it is good going for NR to get the project off the ground within 3 years.
This makes the 4th concurrent major electrification scheme in progress (and has overtaken the TP scheme).
Let's hope for good progress, and early extension!
 
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TheKnightWho

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I'm not sure what to make of the Sheffield plans: either it's just cost cutting now because of the large amount of spending on electrification at the moment, or it suggests that further electrification northwards to Doncaster and Leeds is of low priority. We'll see in time, of course!

Regardless, it's good that this seems to be getting off the ground. As with other schemes, I've been a bit worried that NR have been overambitious in their planning, but things seem to be on track for the most part.
 
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LNW-GW Joint

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I'm not sure what to make of the Sheffield plans: either it's just cost cutting now because of the large amount of spending on electrification at the moment, or it suggests that further electrification northwards to Doncaster and Leeds is of low priority. We'll see in time, of course!

Regardless, it's good that this seems to be getting off the ground. As with other schemes, I've been a bit worried that NR have been overambitious in their planning, but things seem to be on track for the most part.
Part of it may be the remodelling at Sheffield (and at Leicester and Derby) which are not yet fully designed and will be CP6 schemes.
So they are having to "design round" these plans.

I thought one of the drivers for wiring north of Sheffield would be the depot strategy for EMT.
They currently use Neville Hill for HSTs, and Doncaster will be a depot for EC IEPs.
So in ending the wires at Sheffield they have constrained the EMT depot strategy to be self-contained .
It's also very poor network strategy for the MML not to be connected to the northern electric lines (TP or ECML) for the lack of 18-odd miles of wire.
Having said that, I think the technical problems with wiring Broad St tunnel in Sheffield are significant.
 

TheKnightWho

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Part of it may be the remodelling at Sheffield (and at Leicester and Derby) which are not yet fully designed and will be CP6 schemes.
So they are having to "design round" these plans.

I thought one of the drivers for wiring north of Sheffield would be the depot strategy for EMT.
They currently use Neville Hill for HSTs, and Doncaster will be a depot for EC IEPs.
So in ending the wires at Sheffield they have constrained the EMT depot strategy to be self-contained .
It's also very poor network strategy for the MML not to be connected to the northern electric lines (TP or ECML) for the lack of 18-odd miles of wire.
Having said that, I think the technical problems with wiring Broad St tunnel in Sheffield are significant.
I would be unsurprised if they're announced for CP6. It seems to make little sense to keep them separated, although sillier things have happened.

We should also remember that Sheffield is to be done by 2021, which is itself in CP6. Announcing the extension later makes for good political capital without actually achieving it any slower than if it had been announced now.
 
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The Ham

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Given the completion dates mentioned when should be expect to see rolling stock procurement announcements?
It is likely to be something that is done by the next franchise holder, so expect an announcement in October 2017 when the franchise is awarded and the winner announces who they will be using (remembering that TOC's can order trains - as First and Virgin were proposing different new trains as part of their, failed, Intercity West Coast Franchise bids).
 

LNW-GW Joint

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It is likely to be something that is done by the next franchise holder, so expect an announcement in October 2017 when the franchise is awarded and the winner announces who they will be using
There will need to be stock identified for Corby services before that, if services are to start by the end of 2017.
The article speculates that they might use the Thameslink route rather than terminate in St Pancras.
 

AM9

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.... The article speculates that they might use the Thameslink route rather than terminate in St Pancras.
Which means that 700s would probably have to be used and would raise all sorts of issues:

1) would they just extend some of the Bedford Thameslinks to Kettering and procure a few more 700s?
2) if so, who would operate them?
3) would that mean that Kettring/Corby are then in the NSE area for railcards etc.?
4) would there be a mass public protest using trains with seats unsuitable for such a long journey (to BTN) AND not having every row of seats lined up with windows? :)
 
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NX

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So their going to wire the the three roads to Wellingborough (no four tracking) and the curved Platforms at Harborough.

Sounds like a bargin basement project.

NX
 

TheKnightWho

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Which means that 700s would probably have to be used and would raise all sorts of issues:

1) would they just extend some of the Bedford Thameslinks to Kettering and procure a few more 700s?
2) if so, who would operate them?
3) would that mean that Kettring/Corby are then in the NSE area for railcards etc.?
4) would there be a mass public protest using trains with seats unsuitable for such a long journey (to BTN) AND not having every row of seats lined up with windows? :)
Is there definitely no scope to run the IEPs through Thameslink? They have provision for 750 DC, and the ones ordered for the MML (if indeed that's what they order, which is considered likely) could be fitted with it.
 

HSTEd

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No, they will not meet the performance requirements for operation in the core and almost certainly have no provision for the specific ATO equipment.
If Corby goes to Thameslink it will be additional 700s.
 

TheKnightWho

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No, they will not meet the performance requirements for operation in the core and almost certainly have no provision for the specific ATO equipment.
If Corby goes to Thameslink it will be additional 700s.
What exactly are the performance requirements? Will they have too poor acceleration?

And forgive me, but I don't actually know what ATO equipment is.
 

gerryuk

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Does this mean that there will be a new cross country service between Sheffield and Southampton under the wires via Bedford?
 

Tomnick

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So their going to wire the the three roads to Wellingborough (no four tracking) and the curved Platforms at Harborough.

Sounds like a bargin basement project.

NX
Has that been stated? I thought work to redouble the Slow/Corby lines between Sharnbrook and Corby was already underway as a separate project. They're certainly on with something very substantial most nights south of Corby.
 

TheKnightWho

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Has that been stated? I thought work to redouble the Slow/Corby lines between Sharnbrook and Corby was already underway as a separate project. They're certainly on with something very substantial most nights south of Corby.
What's the issue with the curved platforms at Harborough too?
 

HSTEd

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What exactly are the performance requirements? Will they have too poor acceleration?
Probably - they are unlikely to have the same proportion of the axles driven as they are not optimised for acceleration - although given the IEP's Japanese heritage that may not be the case.
They will also not have the door installations and internal layout to meet the dwell time requirements.
And forgive me, but I don't actually know what ATO equipment is.
ATO is Automatic Train Operation - essentially what it means in this context is that when inside the 'core' of Thameslink, the driver will not directly drive the train but merely press the "Go" button - at which point the train will drive to the next station.
All the driver does in normal conditions is keep his hand on the emergency brake, just in case.
 

TheKnightWho

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Probably - they are unlikely to have the same proportion of the axles driven as they are not optimised for acceleration - although given the IEP's Japanese heritage that may not be the case.
They will also not have the door installations and internal layout to meet the dwell time requirements.


ATO is Automatic Train Operation - essentially what it means in this context is that when inside the 'core' of Thameslink, the driver will not directly drive the train but merely press the "Go" button - at which point the train will drive to the next station.
All the driver does in normal conditions is keep his hand on the emergency brake, just in case.
Presumably this could be overcome by not stopping at all stops in the core? I doubt any IC service going through the core would stop at anywhere other than St Pancras and Blackfriars, which could overcome any difficulties. Obviously they'd need to be timed right.

Would ATO be impossible to include in the spec?
 

Tomnick

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What's the issue with the curved platforms at Harborough too?
The longstanding issue there is the restrictive PSR through Market Harborough. There's been a lot of talk of easing the curve by following a new alignment, but I've no idea what the current situation is. It could well be a separate project prior to electrification though.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Does this mean that there will be a new cross country service between Sheffield and Southampton under the wires via Bedford?
Not for a long time.
NR hasn't worked out how to do Bedford-Bletchley yet.

Has that been stated? I thought work to redouble the Slow/Corby lines between Sharnbrook and Corby was already underway as a separate project. They're certainly on with something very substantial most nights south of Corby.
The article says Bedford-Kettering "will almost certainly be 4-tracked".
But it seems odd to start the project with that undecided.
 

HSTEd

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Presumably this could be overcome by not stopping at all stops in the core? I doubt any IC service going through the core would stop at anywhere other than St Pancras and Blackfriars, which could overcome any difficulties. Obviously they'd need to be timed right.
Problem with that is you then introduce all sorts of problems with people attempting to use the Thameslink Core as a substitute tube line and attempting to board a train without realising that it won't stop at the station they want.

And trying to empty an IEP at St Pancras in the 60 seconds set aside for it seems rather hairy.

Would ATO be impossible to include in the spec?
Possibly not, but it would all add cost for something of questionable utility.
 

Bald Rick

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And trying to empty an IEP at St Pancras in the 60 seconds set aside for it seems rather hairy.
I should think a 26m long coach going around the curves at Midland Road and Farringdon would be somewhat more hairy when the tunnel wall comes through the window.
 

TheKnightWho

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Problem with that is you then introduce all sorts of problems with people attempting to use the Thameslink Core as a substitute tube line and attempting to board a train without realising that it won't stop at the station they want.

And trying to empty an IEP at St Pancras in the 60 seconds set aside for it seems rather hairy.


Possibly not, but it would all add cost for something of questionable utility.
I'm not sure either of those issues are insurmountable, considering you'd have longer than 60 seconds due to making up for lost time by skipping 2 stations later on. You can also quite easily put up warnings and announcements that "this train is a fast train to x" or whatever.

That being said, the issue of tunnel walls and 26m coaches may be another story altogether...
 

HSTEd

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I'm not sure either of those issues are insurmountable, considering you'd have longer than 60 seconds due to making up for lost time by skipping 2 stations later on. You can also quite easily put up warnings and announcements that "this train is a fast train to x" or whatever.
But you blow the dwell time likely to such an extent that you end up with trains stacking at St Pancras.
 

Tomnick

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24tph planned through the core, isn't it? That equates to absolutely no chance of running 'intercity' type trains, even if they replaced some of those trains rather than running in addition.
 

AM9

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I'm not sure either of those issues are insurmountable, considering you'd have longer than 60 seconds due to making up for lost time by skipping 2 stations later on. You can also quite easily put up warnings and announcements that "this train is a fast train to x" or whatever.

That being said, the issue of tunnel walls and 26m coaches may be another story altogether...
Why bother risking what will be a very highly tuned timetable through the core by using incompatible trains? Traing running in the core must have very similar characteristics in passenger ingress/egress, acceleration/braking and (preferably) door positions. If the Corby/Kettering service was run as an express service from Bedford, stopping only at Luton and West Hampstead, a 700 would be quite popular if it then went through the core, despite the stock's high density suburban design. Where it would go then I don't know, it would be dependent on paths.
Even a 700's 100mph maximum speed could probably be integrated into the fast line traffic given that from Harpenden southwards, some of the fast Brighton trains cross over there anyway.
I suppose that sending the Corby/Kettering trains through the core could alleviate the squeeze at St Pancras platforms 1-4, especially if the sparks effect generated significant commuter growth from Kettering and Corby.
 

NX

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Positive its not underway that's for sure, probably just relaying in preparation for electrication.

With regards to MK, looks like they'll wire through on the curve, then in a decades time rip it all up at great cost to rebuild the station on a straight, faster alignement.

Only in the bargin basement UK!

NX
 

edwin_m

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Positive its not underway that's for sure, probably just relaying in preparation for electrication.

With regards to MK, looks like they'll wire through on the curve, then in a decades time rip it all up at great cost to rebuild the station on a straight, faster alignement.

Only in the bargin basement UK!

NX
Several bridges have been rebuilt north of Bedford - I guess that's preliminary works rather than part of the actual electrification.

NX, MK - do you mean MH?
 

Bald Rick

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I suppose that sending the Corby/Kettering trains through the core could alleviate the squeeze at St Pancras platforms 1-4, especially if the sparks effect generated significant commuter growth from Kettering and Corby.
A self imposed squeeze by EMT to arrange their stock in such a way that platforms are occupied for an hour...
 

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