Morpeth Curve

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by pwig, 12 Mar 2019.

  1. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Must have been freight, presumably coal - the ECML electrification submission to DfT wasn’t submitted until late ‘83 / early ‘84, and even then the submission didn’t include wires north of Newcastle. That bit was submitted very late in the day.
     
  2. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    Could it have been aluminium ore flows? Not my specialist subject though...
     
  3. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    But having one EMU, plus cover, outstationed at Heaton, when the rest of the fleet is based 100miles away, doesn't make sense operationally or economically.
     
  4. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    I think Ken H was just correcting an earlier typo.

    In any case yes, having one (realistically two, as you need a spare) EMU as a micro fleet isn't a great use of resources... but once that rises to five or so, then diesels under the wires becomes more of a pressing matter. Wires the short to Metrocentre would allow a fleet of four to six 319s or 321s to be viable at Heaton (assuming that Morpeth/Chathill to Metrocentre diagrams remain). BR of course didn't consider three 321s to be a micro fleet back in the early 1990s.
     
  5. deltic08

    deltic08 Established Member

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    I knew we would disagree. The Wansbeck downstream of Morpeth is only 60 feet wide where I estimate the new line would cross and can be bridged in one span of 80 feet assuming the ground is suitable. I would hardly call that a viaduct. Cost no more than £2.5m with a further 5 or 6 road over rail bridges and one rail over rail bridge at no more than £2.0m for road bridges and a bit more for rail over rail bridge. Where do you get your bridge costs from?

    This is exactly how NR announced it. £550m for new roof, no other work, just roof work.
     
  6. deltic08

    deltic08 Established Member

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    If you had looked last year there would have been a lot less.
     
  7. deltic08

    deltic08 Established Member

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    Because it will allow 2tph stopping service to Morpeth without delaying non stopping trains while the stopper sets down and clears the platform at Morpeth.
     
  8. Killingworth

    Killingworth Member

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    Having monitored the progress of the Hope Valley Capacity Improvement Scheme very closely for several years I can say with total certainty that a Morpeth diversion would cost well in excess of £100m without a large bridge, land and compensation costs - and it would take 5-10 years minimum to even get passed the planning stages. £200m could be nearer the mark. Rail improvements don't come cheap.

    That's not to say it's not a good idea, or that it hasn't been considered before, but examine today's OS map.
    2019-03-14.png
     
  9. deltic08

    deltic08 Established Member

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    Ah, I forgot the cost of land but would only be about 4 acre/mile.
     
  10. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    If I were you I’d go out there and have a look. The river might be only 60feet wide (personally I think it’s wider), if you cross it square on without skew (unlikely) but it’s a long way down. The river bank isn’t a 30-40 metre vertical cliff. That’s why the existing railway crosses on a viaduct that is about 200m long.

    I get my costs from the final accounts and priced bids for building railway bridges in this country. Where do you get yours? The cheapest all new road over rail bridge I’m aware of recently came in at £7m, so I don’t know how you get £2m.
     
    Last edited: 14 Mar 2019 at 07:58
  11. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    You could do that much more cheaply than building a diversion. Indeed I suspect you could do it without any infrastructure work.
     
  12. Ken H

    Ken H Established Member

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    no room at morpeth to squeeze a south facing bay in. Looked on google satellite and doesnt look easy
     
  13. quantinghome

    quantinghome Member

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    That sounds about right. It looks to be about the same scale as the Norton Bridge realignment which was about £200m.
     
  14. Whattraintoday

    Whattraintoday Member

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    There's a lot of discussion about this being an expensive way to save a few minutes etc.

    Surely the main benefit in diverting faster trains onto a bypass is safety?

    At the moment there are controls in place, but there have been controls in place since the curve was identified as dangerously sharp. And accidents have still happened, the most recent being just 1994. More controls are implemented after each accident.

    As any safety assessment person will tell you, removing the danger completely is forever preferable to implementing controls, especially procedural ones.
     
  15. yoyothehobo

    yoyothehobo Member

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    The bridge would likely be more expensive than that as a quick look at the coal authorities map indicates numerous former opencast, shallow mines, mine entries and around 10-14m of sand on approach to the most likely route over the river which would all ramp up the cost of a bridge. You also have to cross a couple of roads and another railway line so you are probably doing quite a bit of embankment works as well if you want to keep the speeds up over the bridges and a long gentle curve.

    You then have to stitch it together at both ends and if you still are having a lot of stopping services at Morpeth itself then you will likely have to go for a split flying junction as otherwise any stoppers crossing from the east side would block the west, holding up any fasts, this making the scheme mostly pointless...
     
  16. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    They would also tell you that the threshold for implementing safety measures is "reasonably practicable". On the railway that equates, in round figures, to £2m to save a life. So to get any way near justifying the work you would have to have reasonable confidence that you are preventing a future accident of the magnitude of Santiago de Compostela, a rather similar case of overspeed on a curve after a long straight run.

    However that accident would have been prevented by extending the train protection system fitted on the high speed line by a short distance onto the curve, which ironically wasn't fitted as it didn't count as a high speed line. In somewhat similar vein the speed restrictions at Morpeth are no doubt enforced today by TPWS loops and in future by ERTMS, so it would take a very unlikely combination of circumstances for another Morpeth overspeed accident to happen today (at Morpeth or anywhere else).
     
  17. deltic08

    deltic08 Established Member

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    Not at 2tph you can't with an IET bearing down on you. It would have been done already if it was possible.
    I get my costs from a bridge engineer and a soil analyst who just happen to be my neighbours. I haven't mentioned crossing the Wansbeck but I have mentioned road bridge over rail and they have quoted minimum £2m. I just took their word for it.

    A recent BCR study into reinstating the line through Ripon also endorsed £2-2.5m for road over rail.
     
    Last edited: 14 Mar 2019 at 15:49
  18. yoyothehobo

    yoyothehobo Member

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    But you would have to cross the Wansbeck, and that will cost you significantly more than £2.5 million. If you are diverting to keep the speed up you are not going to get on the current alignment across the river. If you are keeping the speed up, you might as well rejoin north of Pegswood, this is a 4 mile route with skewed bridges across the A192, A196, River Wansbeck, A197 and the Bedlington line, with tricky junctions at each end.

    I would hazard a guess that in this situation you are looking at quite a bit more for those bridges than £2.5 million.
     
  19. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Yes you can. Easily. I looked at the graph today. It’s 12 mins running time for an electric LNER train non stop, and 21 for a DMU stopping at all intermediate stations. The long distance services are flighted within approx 20 minutes northbound and 30 mins southbound. Granted the local trains wouldn’t be at exactly 30 minute intervals, and there might need to be some long layovers round on the branch, but it would still be 2 tph. It would be even easier if every other local didn’t stop at Manors (given the Metro is next door) and all were EMUs. The reason it has not been done is that no one is willing to pay the extra subsidy.

    Well you can take my word for it - your neighbours either haven’t been building new railway bridges for a while, or have the wrong rate books. Or both.

    A standard ramped footbridge now costs the thick end of £2m. The road over rail bridge at Ufton Nervet was £7m - in the easiest of open country with a land owner (the sitting MP) who was willing to sell and therefore no need for a Transport & Works Order or Compulsory purchase. That was 3 years ago.
     
  20. Killingworth

    Killingworth Member

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    A simple footbridge, required to carry a footpath used by less than 5 people on most days, at Hathersage was costed at £750,000 at the time of the public inquiry in 2016. It won't be built before 2021 by which time I doubt it will cost less. The cost of consultations and public inquiries in both time and money needs to be factored in.

    The Selby diversion was largely driven by the need to develop the short lived Selby coalfield. It runs across totally flat countryside. Any Morpeth diversion would require cuttings and embankments as well as several road and foot bridges and a viaduct across a deep wooded and picturesque valley. To be of most benefit the new curve would need to be gentle, possibly starting north of Pegswood, but either side of Hepscott could be difficult.

    All of which explains why it hasn't been done before. It's not as if it hasn't been considered - can't recall exactly when, probably after one or more of the crashes. Morpeth Station is being, maybe now has been, improved to offer better facilties.

    If track congestion is the issue, providing a passing loop or two at about £10m a time might be better value. Depending on topography it could be less or more, but consultations may mean every one of them might take 5-10 years from now to achieve.
     
  21. _toommm_

    _toommm_ Established Member

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but when I was last at Morpeth, wasn't there ballast behind Platform 2? Surely there could be space there for a bay platform? All you'd need to do is widen the platform slightly to allow for the increase in passenger numbers, and then create the single line for the platform 3...
     
  22. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    There was still an independent line present around the curve to/from the closed Scots Gap & Rothbury route into another platform behind the existing down platform when I first used the station, and according to the “disused stations” site photos the platform face and track was still present in 1972. (Link below.) AFAICS the road bridge still includes the necessary full width, but I think it’s possible the full 3 track formation width around much of the south curve is no longer in rail ownership.

    http://disused-stations.org.uk/m/morpeth/index16.shtml
     
    Last edited: 14 Mar 2019 at 21:00
  23. 380101

    380101 Member

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    This is where the "Morpeth" boards come from. It'll also be TPWS protected due to the speed reduction ie; a reduction in speed of more than 1/3rd of the linespeed.
     
  24. Killingworth

    Killingworth Member

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    Platform 1 southbound, 2 northbound to clarify. If I'd known this topic was coming up I'd have taken pictures from platform 2 when I visited back in August!

    There may be merit in investigating a platform 3 option alongside 2. Access from the north end wouldn't be difficult - feeding towards Edinburgh! It was connected to the south in 1959, but tracks are now lifted. Doesn't look too hard to restore them - after a Googled aerial view survey. I'm sure there will be good reasons why it's harder than that may seem. WP_20180825_11_42_22_Pro (3).jpg WP_20180825_11_43_16_Pro.jpg
     
  25. _toommm_

    _toommm_ Established Member

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    Definitely seems achievable from Google Maps - the points going away from the mainline at the south end may be tight with where High Park is at the moment, but it's still visible where the platform would have been from the north end, so certainly seems achievable, notwithstanding the NIMBY from the residents nearby...

    I would provide a screenshot of Google Maps, but the screenshots on my Macbook are too big for this forum...
     
  26. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    Which is a where the AWS indication comes in or indeed those 'Morpeth Boards' but not specifically TWPS overspeed sensors. However, cheers for the info.
     
  27. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    No doubt a back platform could be built for the down line, but to get to it from the south would need S&C on the curve, which means taking the cant off, which means reducing the through route to about 20-30mph....
     
  28. Hagbard Celine

    Hagbard Celine Member

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    Is the 110 mph due to there being a 50mph corner in the middle of otherwise straighter sections, ie not enough space to accelerate to 125 mph anyway?

    If the bypass was suitable for 125mph and made 125mph achievable for a distance at either end, eg from Cramlington to Widdrington, how much time would it save?
     
  29. deltic08

    deltic08 Established Member

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    I give in. Well outnumbered. Afterall I am just an enthusiastic retired medic heavily into reinstating a closed railway line. My neighbours are retired also.

    Do the gaps in Northbound and Southbound nonstop services coincide at Morpeth to allow set down and shunt into the reversing siding which means a conflicting move with southbound traffic twice an hour?
     
  30. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Nope it’s 110mph for the 30 odd miles from Benton to Alnmouth, and is nothing to do with the Morpeth curve. Even if all of that was 125mph vice 110mph, the saving would be less than 2 minutes.
     

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