Solent to Midlands Freight Study and electrification

Nicholas Lewis

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NR and Highways England have put out this report today addressing freight movements between the Solent and Midlands

https://highwaysengland.co.uk/media/rc4bekfn/solent-to-the-midlands-multimodal-freight-strategy.pdf

Study advocates a series of interventions

1. Improving existing passing loops between Eastleigh and Basingstoke
2. Grade separation at Basingstoke
3. Assuming OLE electrification of Southampton to Basingstoke, provision of electrified diversionary route via Andover [note that this was identified in the previous ‘Electric Spine’ study aspirations]
4. Capacity enhancements between Southcote Junction (Jn) and Oxford Road Jn in Reading
5. Grade separation at Didcot East Jn and Oxford North Jn
6. Capacity improvements Didcot – Oxford and Oxford station
7. Banbury Loops
8. Leamington Spa station remodelling
9. Water Orton area interventions
10. Sutton Park Line electrification
11. Gauge clearance of W10 of diversionary route via Westbury and Melksham
12. Gauge clearance to W8 of Bradford Jn to Bathampton Jn
13. Electrification of key freight terminals in the West Midlands

NR team still has Basingstoke to Southampton conversion to 25kV so the electric spine hasn't quite run out of charge yet.

Mind you as with all these studies and strategies they describe common sense but then sit on the shelves gathering dust but with Shapps telling Transport Committee early in the week there will be announcement on Transport Decarbonisation before parliament rises we may at last getting some clear direction of travel.
 
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swt_passenger

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Basingstoke - Southampton will be quite odd in the future then, with its mix of Third Rail and OHLE.
It couldn’t be dual voltage over that distance, it wouldn’t be technically acceptable. All services would need to run on AC.
 

The Planner

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None of those ideas are new so its a regurgitated route study shopping list, most won't happen within the next 20 years. Not sure why Banbury is an issue post the resignalling either. Leamington will get brushed under the carpet once its realised how much it will need to take the 20mph off Milverton viaduct.
 

lttgroup

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It couldn’t be dual voltage over that distance, it wouldn’t be technically acceptable. All services would need to run on AC.
I did wonder about that, but assumed that it would be stupid for it to be proposed that there be a (relatively) short section of 25kv-only in an area surrounded on almost all sides by third rail or non-electrified lines (obviously Reading-Basingstoke will all be 25kv under this proposal). Seems slightly ludicrous and I'd even go as far to say that it may be more practical to use dual-voltage locos instead? It's not as if they're a new concept.
 

swt_passenger

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I did wonder about that, but assumed that it would be stupid for it to be proposed that there be a (relatively) short section of 25kv-only in an area surrounded on almost all sides by third rail or non-electrified lines (obviously Reading-Basingstoke will all be 25kv under this proposal). Seems slightly ludicrous and I'd even go as far to say that it may be more practical to use dual-voltage locos instead? It's not as if they're a new concept.
The problem is there is no capacity in the existing system to power electric freight on top of planned passenger services. You’d basically need to double the number of DC traction substations.

None of those ideas are new so its a regurgitated route study shopping list, most won't happen within the next 20 years. Not sure why Banbury is an issue post the resignalling either. Leamington will get brushed under the carpet once its realised how much it will need to take the 20mph off Milverton viaduct.
That’s was my immediate thought, it’s all been in recent route studies, no surprises really.
 

edwin_m

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I did wonder about that, but assumed that it would be stupid for it to be proposed that there be a (relatively) short section of 25kv-only in an area surrounded on almost all sides by third rail or non-electrified lines (obviously Reading-Basingstoke will all be 25kv under this proposal). Seems slightly ludicrous and I'd even go as far to say that it may be more practical to use dual-voltage locos instead? It's not as if they're a new concept.
Almost all the passenger trains are dual-voltage or designed for easy conversion to dual-vltage anyway, so could easily switch to 25kV at Basingstoke and back again in the Southampton area. The exceptions would be:
  • 455s - will have disappeared well before anything like this could happen
  • 458s - not dual voltage capable (I think) but if they were still around, the SWR allocations could be reshuffled so they didn't operate west of Basingstoke.
  • 159s and 22x - diesel so not affected. Any replacement would probably be a bi-mode, and in the case of Cross Country unlikely to have a third rail capability but could operate on 25kV.
 

Nicholas Lewis

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The problem is there is no capacity in the existing system to power electric freight on top of planned passenger services. You’d basically need to double the number of DC traction substations.
We did this for Eurostar/Class 92 in 1990 and created a 6800 Amp railway from North Pole/Waterloo to Dollands Moor although it didn't get much use by 92's in the end but would probably give enough power to haul intermodals at 75mph.

You could electrify via Laverstock curve and divert freight that way but unless you have a multi voltage loco you would still need to get through Southampton so might as well go whole hog and do via the main line.

Reality is there are 1000's of un-electrified miles that ought to be dealt with first so can't see this being of a high priority even if it is back on the agenda. At the end of the day a class 66 will still expel less polluting gases/mile/tonne moved than lorries so the priority needs to be to maximise freight moved by rail out of Southampton to inland nodal points.
 

swt_passenger

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We did this for Eurostar/Class 92 in 1990 and created a 6800 Amp railway from North Pole/Waterloo to Dollands Moor although it didn't get much use by 92's in the end but would probably give enough power to haul intermodals at 75mph.

You could electrify via Laverstock curve and divert freight that way but unless you have a multi voltage loco you would still need to get through Southampton so might as well go whole hog and do via the main line.
The Andover route cannot be considered just as an alternative or a diversion, they already need and use both routes to deal with current freight services.
 

Mollman

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Almost all the passenger trains are dual-voltage or designed for easy conversion to dual-vltage anyway, so could easily switch to 25kV at Basingstoke and back again in the Southampton area. The exceptions would be:
  • 455s - will have disappeared well before anything like this could happen
  • 458s - not dual voltage capable (I think) but if they were still around, the SWR allocations could be reshuffled so they didn't operate west of Basingstoke.
  • 159s and 22x - diesel so not affected. Any replacement would probably be a bi-mode, and in the case of Cross Country unlikely to have a third rail capability but could operate on 25kV.
The 458s do have a PTSO with a well in the roof for where the pantograph and related equipment would go
 

D6975

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You could electrify via Laverstock curve and divert freight that way but unless you have a multi voltage loco you would still need to get through Southampton so might as well go whole hog and do via the main line.
Errr no.
If you go via Laverstock you would approach the freightliner depots from the West, not going via Soton. Turning left at Romsey and running via Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh and Soton is an absolute non-starter capacity wise.
 

chiltern trev

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None of those ideas are new so its a regurgitated route study shopping list, most won't happen within the next 20 years. Not sure why Banbury is an issue post the resignalling either. Leamington will get brushed under the carpet once its realised how much it will need to take the 20mph off Milverton viaduct.

What is the 20mph restriction for - bend, structure weight bearing? (I am not familiar with Milverton viaduct).
 

swt_passenger

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Errr no.
If you go via Laverstock you would approach the freightliner depots from the West, not going via Soton. Turning left at Romsey and running via Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh and Soton is an absolute non-starter capacity wise.
I think people would also be surprised how much aggregates and infrastructure traffic to/from Eastleigh is already booked via Chandlers Ford, although plenty of them are Q paths, infrastructure stuff is peaks and troughs over the week. But it all adds to the existing traffic between Romsey and Salisbury.
 

jamie_

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Masonary brick arch with a non freight limit of 40mph. Could be a combination of things.
Its the Bridge over the A445 Rugby Road, basically looks like a swiss cheese underneath, believe they want to replace it but not till next year....
 

The Planner

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Its the Bridge over the A445 Rugby Road, basically looks like a swiss cheese underneath, believe they want to replace it but not till next year....
That has a TSR on it yes, but as you say that is down to be replaced next year. It doesnt get rid of the 20mph for freight from there to the station.
 
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You could electrify via Laverstock curve and divert freight that way but unless you have a multi voltage loco you would still need to get through Southampton so might as well go whole hog and do via the main line.
Many Freightliners from MCT are already scheduled to travel that way, avoiding EH and Soton; it's not a diversionary route as such.
 

HSTEd

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It is extraordinarily unlikely a reasonable business case could be made for Basingstoke-Southampton conversion to 25kV AC if realistic cost estimates are used (unlike the junk estimates used in previous iterations of this project to produce the desired result).

I am not entirely sure why such a scheme is even necessary to run freight trains on this route, given that Class 92s exist.

The problem is there is no capacity in the existing system to power electric freight on top of planned passenger services. You’d basically need to double the number of DC traction substations.

Which will cost a tiny fraction as much as a 25kV conversion project and the subsequent disruption, and need not be fully committed before any traffic has materialised - so when it inevitably doesn't, not all the money will be wasted.

Ultimately this stinks of a pie-in-the-sky "unlimited money" shopping list where the good times never end and there is gold plating for everything.
 

Dunfanaghy Rd

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I am not entirely sure why such a scheme is even necessary to run freight trains on this route, given that Class 92s exist.
The limit of juicing up in Southampton (AC or DC) would be: Canute Road (for Dock Gate 3); Millbrook Dock Gate 12, and the entrance to Maritime. How anything without a diesel engine can move a train beyond there is a mystery. Please advise.
Pat
 

HSTEd

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The limit of juicing up in Southampton (AC or DC) would be: Canute Road (for Dock Gate 3); Millbrook Dock Gate 12, and the entrance to Maritime. How anything without a diesel engine can move a train beyond there is a mystery. Please advise.
Pat
A giant lashup of all 8 extant MLVs full of steel bars as a shunter?

I will get my coat.
 

Nicholas Lewis

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It is extraordinarily unlikely a reasonable business case could be made for Basingstoke-Southampton conversion to 25kV AC if realistic cost estimates are used (unlike the junk estimates used in previous iterations of this project to produce the desired result).

I am not entirely sure why such a scheme is even necessary to run freight trains on this route, given that Class 92s exist.



Which will cost a tiny fraction as much as a 25kV conversion project and the subsequent disruption, and need not be fully committed before any traffic has materialised - so when it inevitably doesn't, not all the money will be wasted.

Ultimately this stinks of a pie-in-the-sky "unlimited money" shopping list where the good times never end and there is gold plating for everything.
As you've seen in my #9 above it is reasonable straightforward and largely non disruptive to beef up the DC for class 92 power levels but unless you have a dual voltage fleet of passenger trains you leave many services on diesel or some alternative power source that come into the area. So there is case on this section to consider 25kv and if the wires can be got through the tunnels without more lowering then its worth evaluating as there are only handful of other structures that may need rebuilding. Mind you i would wire up route via Laverstock curve first so so there is decent diversionary route in place but that may actually suffice for bulk ofintermodal traffic.
 

Oxfordblues

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Standing on the bridge over Hinksey Yard I often see empty spaces on intermodal trains from Southampton to the Midlands and North while on the parallel A34 there's a continuous flow of northbound trucks loaded with containers. If there really is a shortage of HGV drivers and the DfT is serious about tackling pollution from diesel lorries, a simple measure would be for the port to only despatch boxes by road when the trains to those destinations are full.
 

chiltern trev

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That has a TSR on it yes, but as you say that is down to be replaced next year. It doesnt get rid of the 20mph for freight from there to the station.
So why is there a 20mph for freight towards the station? Load bearing of the track and embankment? Turnout speed at the junction? Weight bearing capability of the turnouts?
 

Dr Hoo

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Standing on the bridge over Hinksey Yard I often see empty spaces on intermodal trains from Southampton to the Midlands and North while on the parallel A34 there's a continuous flow of northbound trucks loaded with containers. If there really is a shortage of HGV drivers and the DfT is serious about tackling pollution from diesel lorries, a simple measure would be for the port to only despatch boxes by road when the trains to those destinations are full.
As a matter of interest, how do you know that the containers on HGVs are going to places that can be reasonably conveniently served by rail from Southampton? E.g. much of the 'Golden Triangle' for logistics is rather awkward, at least until East-West Rail is completed to Bletchley.
 

HSTEd

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As you've seen in my #9 above it is reasonable straightforward and largely non disruptive to beef up the DC for class 92 power levels but unless you have a dual voltage fleet of passenger trains you leave many services on diesel or some alternative power source that come into the area. So there is case on this section to consider 25kv and if the wires can be got through the tunnels without more lowering then its worth evaluating as there are only handful of other structures that may need rebuilding. Mind you i would wire up route via Laverstock curve first so so there is decent diversionary route in place but that may actually suffice for bulk ofintermodal traffic.

If there is enough additional electrification make the electric spine anything but a pipedream, there is likely to be enough electrification to convert most of the diesel passenger services.

We already have a few electrodiesel dual voltage units, and there is no particular reason I can think of that more cannot be built if required.
 

The Planner

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So why is there a 20mph for freight towards the station? Load bearing of the track and embankment? Turnout speed at the junction? Weight bearing capability of the turnouts?
No idea, Im not a structures, signalling or geotechnic asset manager!
 

D6975

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I can’t find any mention of electrifying to Salisbury. If you’re doing Basingstoke-Laverstock-Millbrook at 25Kv then you might as well do the last bit into Sarum to allow dual voltage services to/from Waterloo. Is this part of the plan? Not doing it seems silly.
 

Nicholas Lewis

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If there is enough additional electrification make the electric spine anything but a pipedream, there is likely to be enough electrification to convert most of the diesel passenger services.

We already have a few electrodiesel dual voltage units, and there is no particular reason I can think of that more cannot be built if required.
Indeed GWR should take a few more 769's
 

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