Stoke-on-Trent to Derby improvements question

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by thenorthern, 23 Oct 2015.

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  1. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

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    Just some questions about the planned improvements to the Stoke-on-Trent to Derby section of the Crewe to Derby line.

    I know Network Rail have plans to close all the intermediate signal boxes and replace the semaphore signals along the line between Stoke Junction and North Stafford Junction with coloured lights controlled from Derby.

    Network Rail also have plans to single the line through the relatively low Meir railway tunnel to allow higher freight containers to use the line.

    Does anyone know when the improvements are happening as I though the signal box closures were going to happen this year although time for that is slowly running out.

    Also when there improvements are taking place how much disruption is there likely to be?

    Cheers to anyone who knows.
     
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  3. Mugby

    Mugby Established Member

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    I think it would be a very regrettable step to single line Mier tunnel, I didn't know there was any container traffic on this line?
     
  4. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    I believe it's intended as a diversionary route for Felixstowe-Nuneaton-North West (from Melton Mowbray turn right at Syston, thence via Loughborough, Sheet Stores, Stenson)
     
  5. RichmondCommu

    RichmondCommu Established Member

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    This was mentioned on this forum awhile back but I don't suppose the route via Leicester is closed that often so is it really worth putting a single line through the tunnel?
     
  6. martinsh

    martinsh Established Member

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    "Improvements" ?? Ha, I don't think so !
     
  7. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

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    There isn't any container traffic using the line because of the Meir Tunnel.

    To be fair the line could survive as a single line from Stoke Junction to North Stafford Junction with a passing loop at Uttoxeter but I agree the Meir Tunnel singling is something I would rather not happen.
     
  8. RichmondCommu

    RichmondCommu Established Member

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    However even if Meir Tunnel had sufficient clearance to take the larger containers how much potential intermodal freight would the line see when its quicker to run via Nuneaton?
     
  9. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    All very well being quicker, but if you can't get one in on the WCML slows, going via Sheet Stores, Stenson etc may get you out of a hole.
     
  10. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

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    I know they want to raise the linespeed along the route to 75 as well which at the moment is a mixture between 30 in places up to 75 in others which should make it quicker although going through Nuneaton will probably always be quicker.

    The section between Stoke Junction and North Stafford Junction is only open between 06:30 and 22:02 which severely affects freight movements though as the line between Stoke Junction and Kidsgrove is already congested in the daytime making the optimal time for use at night which isn't possible when the line is closed.

    Currently I think the only non-passenger trains that use the line are several locomotive moves from Crewe to Derby, the aviation fuel delivered to Rolls Royce on a Thursday and finally the coal trains from Liverpool Docks to Ratcliffe-on-Sour power station. Some of the coal trains to Ratcliffe from Liverpool I think run through Stafford, the West Midlands and Tamworth High Level if the Crewe to Derby is closed.
     
  11. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    Nothing to stop the line being open 24 hours now if it was economical to do it. Once it is resignalled it will be.
     
  12. Class 170101

    Class 170101 Established Member

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    Derby Signalling Centre is already 24 hour facility so the route could become a 24hr route quite easily assuming NR decide to man the panels overnight. However manning a PSB / IECC / ROC is much easier than manning several small signalboxes.

    Means the route becomes viable for freight diversions (along with 24hr opening). It will be able to take turns with Leicester to Nuneaton blocks for maintenance. Currently if this route is blocked then Felixstowe freight usually runs via GEML, NLL, WCML rather than cross country.
     
  13. Kettledrum

    Kettledrum Member

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    New signalling and increased line speeds would be very positive improvements, but it's surely a backward step to single the Meir tunnel. Has Network Rail not learnt from past mistakes when lines have been singled, and this limits future expansion plans and costs more in the long run.

    If the line was faster, there might be scope to route services this way during cross pennine electrification (e.g. Liverpool to Norwich) so any steps to reduce capacity should be avoided.
     
  14. Class 170101

    Class 170101 Established Member

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    I got the impression that W10 enhancement of the tunnel wasn't possible without singling the line through it?

    I doubt it would be much of a capacity constraint of the rest of the line had shorter block sections.
     
  15. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    I dont see what the issue is if its singled. You would never get a case to rebuild the tunnel based purely on freight. Meir is about half a mile long so unless people are expecting a massive uplift in services then it isnt going to be a big deal.
     
  16. Elecman

    Elecman Established Member

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    Another job for Fillie?
     
  17. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

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    Capacity shouldn't be an issue as things stand. The line could in theory be singled from Stoke Junction to North Stafford Junction with a passing loop at Uttoxeter.

    The Hope Valley line which is used by the Liverpool to Norwich trains isn't going to be electrified for the foreseeable future although with the current reversal at Sheffield it is often quicker to change at Derby and Crewe to reach Liverpool from Nottingham so there may be some changes.

    A direct Derby - Stoke-on-Trent - Manchester Piccadilly service has been discussed although at present there isn't any spare capacity between Stoke-on-Trent and Cheadle Hulme.
     
  18. 6Gman

    6Gman Established Member

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    Since there's already a 3 mile stretch of single track between Barthomley and Crewe I don't think half a mile through Meir Tunnel is going to be a big deal!
     
  19. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

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    The Uttoxeter MP Andrew Griffiths has said that he will push for the line to be electrified although given Meir Tunnel and several low bridges between Uttoxeter and Blythe Bridge the cost wouldn't represent good value for money. Also given that there are several low bridges in the Uttoxeter area are they going to be replaced to fit higher containers? I know Pinfold Street crossing in Uttoxeter is due to be replaced with a foot bridge.

    Back to the topic in hand when are the signal box closures due to take place?
     
  20. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Extension from Crewe to Manchester Airport (again!) is also an aspiration, probably both more realistic and more useful than adding another rather slow train from Stoke to Piccadilly.
     
  21. Mugby

    Mugby Established Member

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    The difference is though, the section between Longton and Meir Tunnel is one hell of an incline and any lead onto a single line wouldn't be particularly fast.
    Could cause problems for heavy container trains in certain conditions.
     
  22. Old Yard Dog

    Old Yard Dog Member

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    Splitting the Crewe - Skegness into three with poor connections at Derby and Nottingham was a very backward step. Why was the Matlock branch given through trains to Nottingham instead of the Crewe line which has many more connections?
     
  23. Senex

    Senex Established Member

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    Surely as long as you can find decent sites for the single/double junctions at both ends the switches can be as fast as you like, up to 90/100 mph with the design used at Battledown/Cogload/Weaver -- it's all a matter of cost and what can be justified.
     
  24. furnessvale

    furnessvale Established Member

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    If capacity DID become an issue in the future, an intermediate solution could be a third gantletted (interlaced) track through the tunnel, which only overheight intermodals needed to use.

    The tunnel could then function as a double track until an intermodal needed to pass when it would temporarily revert to a single line.
     
  25. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    The Matlock branch has always been difficult as the journey to Derby is about 30min so an hourly shuttle needs two units. Extending it to Nottingham gives reasonable layovers each end and requires three units. Also I suspect it was decided that Matlock-Derby and Derby-Nottingham both required two-car units and (incorrectly) they could get away with 153s on the Crewe. Now further complicated by extending the Matlock service to Newark.

    I believe that the Nottingham-Cardiff should run via the Stenson to Sheet Stores route, giving an hourly Nottingham-Birmingham taking about an hour, and the Crewe should be extended to Nottingham using the path thus released.
     
  26. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

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    Stoke-on-Trent City Council have said on their wish list that they want a return of the Stoke-on-Trent to Nottingham train and they want to increase the amount of trains to Uttoxeter to half hourly from the city which may mean taking one train through Stenson and Sheetstores.

    I do think East Midlands Trains and the Crewe to Derby Line got rather a raw deal from the last franchise round as prior to 2007 the line was mostly operated by Class 170s which have now gone from the East Midlands also given that most the stations on the route aren't in the East Midlands and only Derby connects with other EMT services it always been seen as an outlying line. It could all change though when the East Midlands Trains franchise is up for renewal in 2018.
     
  27. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    Cannot see anyone wanting to drop Derby from their services. Will be interesting to see what impact the Derby blockade has for the resignaling.
     
  28. Class 170101

    Class 170101 Established Member

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    I would agree about TOCs not wanting to dropping Derby from their services in normal circumstances.

    As far as services go I would think XC services to miss Derby and divert via Castle Donnington and and SW to NE services also via Totley to maintain current paths north and south
    EMT to / from London would just run straight on via Totley.
    Matlock probably a bus through out and a Crewe to Nottingham service via Castle Donnington.
    When is this supposed to be anyway?
     
  29. Senex

    Senex Established Member

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    I think you mean Toton -- unless you're thinkingof some very interesting diversions indeed!
     
  30. Class 170101

    Class 170101 Established Member

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    Yes Indeed :oops:
     
  31. dk1

    dk1 Established Member

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    The line has been used before for the Liverpool-Norwich during planned Sunday engineering over many weekends. Trains departed Liverpool 35min later at xx:27 then slotted into their booked paths from Nottingham eastwards. Although faster they omitted the main passenger base of the normal routing but did offer a direct Crewe to East Anglia service, something that was only normally possible via Birmingham at the time.
     
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